To stand – against, up or in!

As I observe what is going on in the world, a part of me feels disheartened. Yet another part of me is excited! It proves once again that the Bible is true. What has been predicted and prophesied is starting to happen right in front of our eyes.

“For many will come in My name [misusing it, and appropriating the strength of the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ and they will mislead many. You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].

Then they will hand you over to [endure] tribulation, and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.”

Matthew 24:5-10 (AMP)

I will be honest. I am disheartened to see so many Christians falling away; they follow the world, they protest, they cause division, they don’t stand out as beacons of the Light! The LIGHT we all are supposed to carry – NEED to carry – into a dying, dark world! The fruit they are bearing is not that of true disciples of Jesus.

In saying all of this, don’t get me wrong, please! I too profess that I am a Christian, truly born again and Spirit-filled. And I acknowledge that I am not perfect, the fruit I bear at times is not always the best, either! Yet, I aim daily to live a Godly life, pleasing to the Lord. I do my best to follow and obey God and His leading. Some days I do well in accomplishing that, other days I don’t. I am human… as all of us are! However, I do desire to stand out. I do desire to be different than the world. I do try to imitate Jesus well. I also know as I abide in Him daily, He is the one who gives me the strength to do all of the above, to live a life pleasing and honoring to Him. Without Him and the power of the Spirit, I am nothing and I can do nothing! And I know God sees my heart and I am grateful for His compassion and grace!

Looking at our world, we no longer have to wonder if persecution will come. It is here. It not only a reality in far away countries! This means we need to wake up to this reality! Waking up means we need to stand up and respond – and not be passive any longer! Ooooh… not something we want to hear or do, right? It is uncomfortable! It may mean we even have to suffer!

Just this week I am looking at posts in the media about Rev. Franklin Graham coming to Vancouver for “The Festival of Hope”, an evangelic outreach event. There is much controversy about his “support of the Trump administration” (The Vancouver Sun),  therefore some churches and Christians don’t support it. They are actually protesting amongst non-believers! They are protesting… instead of praying for it! WOW! The Liberal media is not helping! They give false information and feed the lies! How crazy and VERY DISHEARTENING to see Christians opposing an evangelical event! I never thought I would experience it in my lifetime! I understand that non-Christians will protest something like this – but not Christians! What has happened to our Christian community – that we protest an event where the Gospel is going to be preached to the lost?

In writing all of this, my aim is not political! I have said things in the past and found myself in very hot water! Ha! My aim is to voice my concern for the Church, whom I am a part of. The Body of Christ, whom I love! I read in Psalm 133 that His presence will dwell where there is unity. Unity?! Don’t see much of that lately, especially in the Church! I also hear of division, protests and discontent!

Unity will come when we stand against the plans of the evil one, stand up for the truth, and stand in the gap for those who need our prayers.

Paul said this: “…that you are standing firm in one spirit [and one purpose], with one mind striving side by side [as if in combat] for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27b (AMP).

The time has come to choose what we stand for.  Unless we choose to stand now, we will just follow the world and become just like it. Messy, I’d say! We will lose our zeal, we will lose our faith. It means we fall away!  Friends, we can’t stand with one foot in the world of the beast and one foot in the world of Christ.  These two don’t go together.

No more wishy-washyness. We must be on guard. We must STAND firm now and be courageous! Church leaders and Christians need to STAND UP now… and not be like the ones Paul describes in Romans 16:17-18: I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep your eyes on those who cause dissensions and create obstacles or introduce temptations [for others] to commit sin, [acting in ways] contrary to the doctrine which you have learned. Turn away from them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and base desires. By smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting [the innocent and the naive].

Paul continues to encourages us to do this: Be on guard; stand firm in your faith [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and be courageous; be strong. Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us]. 1 Corinthians 16:13,14 (AMP)

Satan is doing everything possible to pull us away from God and lead us astray. If we don’t choose to STAND AGAINST his plans, we will be part of the statistics and daily reports we see in the media about yet another strong church leader caving in to the pressures of the world.

We are called to STAND UP for the truth and this may also mean we will suffer! Mmmmm… not something we want to hear, right?

In Paul’s words to the Philippians he said this: Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter. Philippians 1:27 (MSG)

The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet!

James 4:7b (MSG)

We must STAND IN the gap, for ourselves. So that we will be strong against the onslaught of the evil one who is like a roaring lion, getting ready to kill steal and destroy us! And we need to STAND IN the gap for others, those who are lost, and those who need our prayers!

Pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].

James 5:16 (AMP)

When  I hear about protests, division and discontentment in our world, I see with my own eyes and and hear with my own ears how it provokes people. It makes them angry, there is no peace or unity! Instead, I would love to hear and see how people STAND UP and say: Let us pray! As prayer will change everything!

The reality is we need to STAND! We need to STAND AGAINST, UP OR IN! You choose. I choose. Our choices may just change our world… for better or worse!