While Canadian Christians have been dealing with the legalization of gay marriage for ten years, we all assumed that it wouldn't affect us. For the most part it hasn't. Yet, like America, we are seeing our rights to our beliefs slowly being stripped away due to the homosexual agenda. From the Canadian Law Society's vendetta against Christian law students, to having Biblical Speech (which speaks against homosexual behaviour) ruled as hate speech - Canadian Christians are slowly and almost imperceptibly having their rights stolen from them and no one is crying foul. Why? Because they can't see it happening. If it doesn't personally affect them, then like all Canadians - they don't worry about it. Today's guest blogger Matt Ward, helps put into perspective what many Christians need to take seriously.
The focus of everybody's attention is on the recent Supreme Court decision over gay marriage. It really is a perverse juxtaposition. The Middle East is on the brink of self-destruction and the entire world wide economy is about to self-implode. Life for everybody on this earth could get drastically worse very quickly, yet the issue which occupies all the attention is gay marriage. Why?
The real motivation in this decision is not perhaps what it seems.
The real issue here is not to win equality in marriage for gay people, as so many believe. The real agenda here, and it is a satanic one, is to marginalize Christians. That is why this is being celebrated so widely and why, despite the plethora of other more important events and issues around the world, it occupies such a place of prominence.
The real agenda here is to put Christians in a position where they are finally legally exposed if they follow and practice their faith. The endgame is "to get" Christianity.
The desired outcome is not to liberalize and bring equality for gay people; the desired outcome is to put Christianity directly within the cross hairs so that its adherents can be proactively attacked and persecuted.
If you live in the United States of America and you are a Bible believing Christian you woke up in late June criminalized. If your desire is to live your life in a way pleasing to your Savior, then hard times are ahead; you and your beliefs have been rejected by the legal system of your country.
The repercussions of this judgment will be far reaching.
People write often, men and women that I respect, about the possibilities of national repentance and the spirit being poured out once again upon us. People better than I believe that if we would just turn our hearts back to God, then even now He would forgive us as a nation. With all my heart I wish that this were true but in reality, I simply don't believe that it is possible anymore.
There is no coming back from what has just happened.
What has taken place is an absolute affront to God. God ordained marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman. It is a picture of Jesus Christ's relationship with His Bride. This decision fundamentally corrupts God's will for mankind and it mocks Him.
This decision is a very deep offense to the nature of God. Even the rainbow colors, which are the symbol of the Pride movement, is purposely offensive and insulting to God. It is designed specifically to cause God offense. These are the colors which symbolize God's deliverance of mankind from a time of evil the likes of which this earth had not seen before.
A rainbow even surrounds the holy throne of God Himself. This rainbow, a symbol of deliverance, has now become corrupted and twisted, now in our time a symbol of sin and rebellion, the symbol of the Pride movement.
As I write this my heart is very unsettled within me. I am deeply troubled spiritually by what has happened. When we look at the biblical example of Sodom and Gomorrah, we need to understand that these cities were not destroyed until the leadership of these places actively mandated a homosexual lifestyle. With this decision America finds itself in an identical situation to Sodom and Gomorrah.
God loves mankind, deeply and desperately. He loves us so much that He has told us what is good for us and what is bad through His Word. He cares for us to such a huge extent that He has actually put Himself in the place of our execution. God Himself stands directly in our stead on our behalf.
God loves humanity, each and every person within it.
Yet it is because of this love that God will ultimately allow each person and nation to decide for themselves what they think is good. If a nation chooses friendship with God then He will come and make his home with that nation. If a nation chooses to walk away from God and follow its own path, God will allow it.
This decision means that America has chosen enmity with God. There will be consequences for it. For those of you who will hold to Jesus and His testimony, you are now marginalized, set apart.
Even though I genuinely believe that as the bride of Christ we will not see the wrath of God come upon this world, I do believe, especially in light of this decision, that we will see persecution.
From this moment on we will never be as free as we once were in our faith. We will be systemically harassed. I believe that there will be a brief pause now, a moment of calm while people and forces take stock of what has happened and what it means.
Then will come the outright persecution. You are in the cross hairs. You have been warned.
Attend to your God and His Son and be about His work. The night is coming when it is not possible to work. In fact, I think that dusk has already begun to settle on this fallen world.
Matt Ward is a free-lance writer commenting on current issues and Bible prophecy. He can be contacted at Wardmatt1977@gmail.com.
We call them “desert” or “wilderness” experiences, and they are normal for most Christians. They start innocently enough – through illness, death, job loss, even the hormonal changes that come after a child’s birth can bring it on through postpartum depression. And somewhere along the way, we lose our feeling of closeness to God. We become disinterested in anything to do with the church or the Bible. We make excuses to avoid our Christian friends because we don’t feel “spiritual” enough. Before we know it, we are out wandering in the desert, wondering if we have lost our faith in God forever or if we were ever saved in the first place. But, by looking at Jesus’ desert experience, we can have victory over Satan’s attempts to lead us away from God. Today, if you are going through one of those times, it is my hope that you will be encouraged by what you find.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him (Matthew 4:1-11, NASB).
It is clear from the verses above that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for one purpose - to be tempted by the devil. Why did Jesus need to be tempted? To show us how to avoid temptation. So let's look at the types of temptation we face and how to meet these temptations head on.
Types of Temptation:
Physical temptations include everything that the "flesh" lusts after. These can include everything from sexual addictions, to drug or alcohol addictions, and yes even food addictions. Jesus' first temptation was hunger and the promise of food. His response to this temptation was to quote Scripture that not only put Satan in his place, but at the same time reminded Jesus that His strength to resist temptation could only be found in God's Holy Word.
Satan next tried to tempt Jesus into killing himself, with the promise that in modern terms would be akin to saying, "Everything will be okay because God loves you and you won't go to hell if you do this because He would never want to see you hurt." Thoughts of suicide are very real when we are emotionally depleted. When we feel alone, when life becomes too hard, when we feel like there is no hope and no one who cares, or like God isn't there or doesn't love us. Our thoughts can easily slip into dark places that look like a way to escape our problems. But in reality, suicide is a selfish act that leaves those who love you left to pick up the pieces and forever be wondering what they had done wrong, or what they had missed. Jesus' response to this kind of temptation was to once again quote Scripture and then remind Satan that it is wrong to put God to the test. If you think things will be better if you kill yourself, you are basically counting on God to forgive you for taking the life He gave you. **Note - Depression is a serious illness that is not Satanic in nature, but is largely a biological or hormonal issue, that unfortunately if you are a Christian, can be exacerbated by well-meaning Christians who think it's from the devil. Satan DOES NOT cause depression, he only uses it for his advantage. If you are suicidal please talk to someone!**
The desire to "have it all" to be rich, to have power, money and fame are all too familiar in this day and age. Jesus' response to Satan when he promised him riches if he would just bow down and worship him, was to again quote Scripture and put Satan in his place by reminding him that we should worship the Lord and serve only Him. This world has a lot of temptations and most of them have to do with money. According to the world, when you have money, you have power and unfortunately this has turned the hearts of many well-meaning Christians. We see it in TV evangelists who use God as an excuse to buy a plane, an airport, or multi-million dollar homes for their children. We also see Christians tempted to disregard God's word in order to have the approval of the world on issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage. When Christians toss out the Bible in favour of man's opinion, they are not honouring God or obeying Him anymore. They are simply giving in to the devil and his schemes.
How Do We Defeat Temptation?
Jesus’ desert experience lasted forty days and forty nights. He was alone, yet not entirely alone. He was God in the flesh and at any moment could have asserted His authority to rise above His flesh and blood body and return to His heavenly abode. But He didn't, because if He had His whole purpose for coming into the world would have been moot. Instead, He allowed Himself to experience what we experience everyday - temptation. He had to learn how to rely on God alone and so do we.
Jesus promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
We know we can trust the Lord and His promises. Yet we often feel alone and that God has left us in the lurch. More often than not, we are the ones who have strayed from God. During these times, we must remember how Satan tried to deceive Jesus when He was in the wilderness. All His temptations began with one word: if. Each temptation was meant to plant a seed of doubt in the Saviour’s head. In addition, each attack was aimed at something new. We must remember, Satan is always scheming to try and get us to stop believing in and trusting God.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Does God allow wilderness experiences to happen to us on purpose? Yes, indeed He does. But why? He allows us to go through these spiritually dry times in order to strengthen our faith in Him and test our faithfulness in Him. This was the very reason Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert – to be tempted to sin.
When we look at Christ’s temptations in the wilderness, we begin to see a pattern in how Satan works. We can use this knowledge to our advantage to “fight against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).
How Satan works to destroy your faith in God:
In Matthew 4:1-11, we learn Jesus was hungry. Immediately, Satan tempted Christ in two ways:
Satan then goes on to tempt Jesus further, each time using the word if. He was constantly questioning Christ’s divinity and authority. Jesus’ response to Satan’s attacks can teach us how to stand firm when we are going through our own wilderness experiences.
Five things we need to remember to defeat temptation:
Six things that will help you survive a wilderness experience are:
If you do not spend time in prayer and Bible study daily, you can easily be deceived by Satan. You might rehash your past and be filled with regret, distancing yourself from God’s healing forgiveness. You might fall prey to false teachers and be led away from the Lord. You may even doubt your salvation. Jesus knew the Father’s will because He spent time with Him daily. His faith was strengthened because of His wilderness experience which enabled Him to meet future trials, firm in the knowledge He was not alone.
If you are feeling lost in the wilderness right now and your faith seems dry and all seems hopeless - be encouraged! Only those God knows are faithful and will endure in their faith go through these experiences. Remember, Satan cannot attack us unless he first gets permission from God (Job 1:6-12). God must have a lot of faith in you. Now keep your eyes on Jesus' example and pick up your Bible, because it is the Sword of the Spirit and the Word of Truth and is your only way out of the wilderness. It will defeat any lie or scheme the devil is bringing against you.