Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Christians Should Do In These Final Days

In chapter 6 of the book of Daniel we read the famous story of Daniel in the lions’ den. This story is interesting for us to study today because Daniel both prophesied about the days we are living in, and he also modeled how to succeed through such massive political upheaval the likes of which we are enduring. Daniel was not only kidnapped into captivity by Babylon (modern day Iraq), but he (as a Hebrew) proceeded to rise to the number two position in command of three successive Pagan kings spanning across Babylon and Persia (modern day Iran). Such a feat had never been achieved before nor since. And, it is the story of the lions’ den that demonstrates the power through which Daniel achieved all of the above. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because he refused to quit praying to God three times a day in spite of the king’s dictate to cease by threat of becoming lions' food. In fact, he knew the lion’s den punishment every time he prayed. Daniel knew full well the cost of his prayers and how the reward far exceeded that cost. Regardless of the persecution he faced, Daniel was faithful to communing with God as if his life depended upon it. And, after being thrown in the lion’s den, he demonstrated just how much his life actually did depend upon prayer. Even in the face of starving, ravenous lions, Daniel faithfully prayed, was delivered and awarded the place of prominence in yet another Pagan kingdom as a result. Daniel is our best model for times such as these.

Ironically today, Christians face incessant persecution both abroad and in the West. Christians are being judged, silenced, terminated, imprisoned, beaten, raped, and killed for their faith. In fact, the number of Christian martyrs will approach 200,000 just in this year alone. And, while this happens abroad we watch even in America as Islam is defended, lauded, protected and glorified in spite of horrific acts against Christians in her name. For example, in the past several days in the Oklahoma State Capitol, Muslims were invited to pray in the Capitol building. A “Christian” protestor interrupted the prayers to loudly recite The Lord’s Prayer. She was immediately escorted out of the building by police. We should not defend disturbing the peace or rude protests. However, notice the less than subtle dynamic at play here. Muslims are invited to pray in a state Capitol, with little to zero outrage by atheists, the ACLU, liberals, or anyone who commonly decries “separation of Church and State!” Instead, Muslims are permitted to pray on government property, by government sanction and with government protection from offense. This is not a new development. For years, near mosques in major cities all over America, several times a day, Muslims are permitted to empty into busy streets, kneel on prayer mats, block cars, and face Mecca to pray, while the police stop traffic and provide for their protection. Apparently those who cry “separation of Church and State” take no issue with the mingling of Islam and State. The new definition appears to be separation of Jesus and State, and certainly not separation of Mosque and State.

What is vividly clear today is that there is a global war at hand. And, it is a religious war. And, contrary to liberal epithets, Christianity is not the global threat. Christians are not advancing militarily…anywhere in the world. Christians are not killing nonbelievers in mass anywhere in the world. Christians are not brutally oppressing homosexuals and women anywhere in the world. But, a certain religious stripe is doing all of the above with brutal, deadly force. In fact, it is Christian tolerance that established religious freedoms for all religions in America. And, that same tolerance is being denied by those who hate the Christian Church while they accuse her of being hateful.

The other not so subtle trend to notice is that Muslims are praying, Muslims are advancing, and Muslims are unashamedly faithful. At least these Muslims are praying several times a day without fail. Are you? Christians, it is high time that we show the world what true faith in the one true God looks like. It is time that we model Daniel in a foreign land. It is time to pray like never before. Can faith in God exist without prayer? In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God gave us this promise, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” This is a promise from God. Notice that the healing does not depend upon the actions of the unbelievers, but the believers. So Christian, be humble. Christian, pray and seek God’s face. Christian, turn from your wicked ways. This will be the only way that God will heal the lands in which we dwell. After all, prayer is the only means we have to invoke all of the power and authority of God through His Holy Spirit. Therefore, pray! Pray for God’s Kingdom to peacefully advance through His gospel. Pray for blessings and protection upon Israel. Pray for the martyrs and their families. Pray for our nation and her leaders. Pray for our enemies to repent. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Like Daniel, will you pray with more faithfulness than Muslims? Like Daniel, will you pray no matter if it costs your life? Like Daniel, will you defy the force of government in favor of our God? Like Daniel, will you then be delivered and see the coming of our King? Prayer is the only means that we have and every means that we have. So, like Daniel, pray as if your life depends upon it, because it does.

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