"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, April 30, 2021

FIGHTING FIRE with FIRE - Preparing for Persecution For Righteousness' Sake

~ by James Fire

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We have covered this subject before in FROM the MIND of FIRE with the article Are You Persecution Proof?,  and the days being what they are, I feel a need to revisit this issue as the likelihood of persecution here in America seems only a matter of time - it's been happening for some time in isolated, individual cases, but it has yet, in a very overt, direct way, to strike at the heart of the church from coast to American coast – yet! But soon!

We see more and more solid indications that persecution in one form or another will be visiting our American shores (The Covid19 PLANdemic is a rather underhanded, back door method). It's my fervent prayer and desire that this article will encourage, even inspire the saints of GOD in these darkening days of dire and dread to remain steadfast and courageous in the face of such stark opposition and do "great exploits" (DAN 11:32b) by the power of GOD and for His glory!

It’s been a viable tactic of fire fighters for a long time now, to “fight fire with fire”. The idea of course is to go ahead of a fire raging out of control and burn up anything consumable, so that by the time the wildfire reaches that area, there is no fuel to consume, and the fire simply dies out. To ensure that the fires of persecution don't have a debilitating, destructive effect, we need the Fire of GOD to refine us, purging out the things of the flesh, any weaknesses that the fires of persecution could feed on!

ISAIAH 48:1-22 speaks about the hypocrisy of Israel that only feigned a love for truth and righteousness (ISAIAH 48:1-2) and proved to be obstinate, hardheaded, and stiff necked in their rebellion (vs. 4). God knew that Israel would become spiritually diseased, desecrated, compromised and corrupted much as the Western church has become today. 

He provided the solution: “the furnace of affliction” so that they would be refined as silver is refined (silver has always been the Old Testament symbol for redemption) so that His holy name would no longer be polluted by Israel’s pathetic, defamatory testimony (vs. 10-11). 

He sent judgment upon the nation through Babylon that brought them under subjection (vs. 14). Ultimately God will redeem the nation of Israel by the One that God the Father and the Holy Spirit sent: the LORD Jesus Christ (vs. 17). Israel frustrated God by her unfaithfulness when He wanted to bless them to overflowing but couldn’t because of their obstinacy (vs. 18-19), yet He will one day indwell His people and cause them to walk in His statutes (EZEK 36:26-27).

This refinement in the furnace of affliction brings sanctification and holiness, the burning away of spiritual dross – that is, sinful habits and practices; brings spiritual strength, resolve and purifies our faith so that we can endure anything that the enemy attacks us with.

God’s holy fire will burn away those things in us so that when the fires of persecution come our way, there is no weakness, no relenting – nothing that the enemy can use as ‘fuel’ to break us and cower us into submission. There will be nothing left to burn!

Each of us will know this purification in our own God-ordained personal forge. Like the sword whose metal has been tested, beaten, refined and purified, so too will we be able to endure any battlefield the LORD places us in – and like that sword, we will not break in the heat of battle!
Then there are times when God uses persecution itself as a refining fire; persecution as with any fiery trial has a way of stripping us our pride, our self-reliance, our attraction to the things of the world, and it resets godly priorities as the greatest of goals, letting lesser things fall away. In so doing, the LORD gains our chiefest affections and devotions so that we, like the nation of Israel, cry out to Him with a heart of contrite repentance (PSALM 51:17; 34:18) and find the sweet fellowship – the fellowship of His sufferings (PHIL 3:10).

I'd like to examine the biblical account that involved Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah as recorded in DANIEL 3 (more commonly known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) and their refusal to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue and the subsequent consequences. 

In the days of Daniel the prophet Israel was under GOD’s chastening for rebelling against Him and His commandments. The kingdom of Israel was demolished, the holy city Jerusalem razed to the ground and the inhabitants, over the course of three waves of attack by Babylon, were swept away; about ¼ of the population taken captive to the far away land of the Chaldeans (the other portions of the population were destroyed by war, famine and disease). 

Meanwhile in Babylon, the best looking, most intelligent, and gifted young men were made to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court, were made to learn their language, their culture, and customs, and carry out such duties as assigned to them by this Gentile power. Try to think of what it would be like to be dragged away from your home, your country, and made to serve in a foreign land, with no certain hope of ever seeing your family, your people, your native soil ever again! 

These three Hebrew men, friends of Daniel the prophet, were intent on complying with all of their training (otherwise, had they been rebellious, they would be removed from their stations at best or worst, slain for non-compliance). The only things that they didn’t comply with, were those things in direct opposition to the laws of the LORD.

We see this specifically with the diet that the King assigned to them, a non-kosher diet that violated the commandments of GOD. Daniel suggested that they’d be given a vegetarian diet rather than eating non-kosher meats, and while their steward was reluctant, Daniel then suggested a trial period to see how things would go (See DANIEL 1). 
At the end of the trial period, Daniel and his three companions were healthier in appearance and hardier than all of their counter-parts (among them no doubt were fellow Hebrews!)
These four godly young Hebrew men were likewise intent on obeying GOD rather than man, wherever the commands of men interfered or contradicted the commandments of GOD. 

No doubt, these three companions of Daniel’s made it a practice, just as the prophet did, to pray three times a day to the LORD (DANIEL 6:10). Apparently they had access to at least some of their Holy Scriptures and were devoted to reading and studying them (DANIEL 9:2).
All of this was preparatory for their persecution; likewise we must be prepared in heart and soul to obey the LORD at any cost, to be diligent in the reading and studying of GOD’s Word, and consistent in our prayer lives. 

So let’s see what we can learn from Daniel’s three Hebrew brethren, faithful servant-saints, all.

DANIEL 3:1-7
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 

4 Then a herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6 And whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Having rejected the GOD of all creation, man will always seek to worship self; even in the forming and erecting of false gods and idols, “the works of men’s hands” (ACTS 7:41; ISAIAH 45:16; EZEK 20:31; ROM 1:25). Since men are the makers, by worshiping these idols and false gods (projections of their own minds) they are really worshiping themselves (and encouraged to do so by the demonic spirits masquerading behind those idols! (PSALM 32:17; 1 COR 19-20).

Times today are no different; man not only insists on the practice of self-worship but makes it mandatory that others comply: Nebuchadnezzar – who was told by Daniel the prophet the meaning of his dream (DANIEL 2), and that his own empire would one day be replaced by another (and that one replaced by yet another and another) – ultimately disregarded that GOD given dream and erected an idol of pure gold, declaring in his pride that his empire would never fall or be replaced. Such is the pride of man that would take the place of GOD and His kingdom – the only one that will endure, never to fall or be replaced by any other (DAN 7:14; REV 11:15-17).

Just as Nimrod (the adversary of GOD, and the first type of anti-Christ recorded in Scripture) was inspired of Satan in the creation of a new world order where state and religion were bound together in the Tower of Babel and its city, we see the same thing forming today what was disbanded by GOD millennia ago when He confused the people by diversifying their speech into various languages (GEN 11).

We see many idols being promoted today with not-so-subtle means being employed by behind-the-scenes global powers and their national-level puppets: transgenderism, the furtherance of promotion of abortion. Note that both involve that sexual aspect of humanity; thus the worship of various pagan gods/goddesses of sex; such ‘gods’ today are those that people are devoted and subordinate to by way of an ideology. 

Such ideologies are of course inspired by doctrines of demons (1 TIM 4:1).
Tearing down the order of GOD which He established as “male and female” with the absurd notion of transgenderism, destroying the sanctity of life by denouncing the humanity of the unborn and then shedding the blood of innocents (PSALM 106:38); globalists are destroying the freedoms of speech, the freedoms of assembly, the freedoms of religion – all of the freedoms that are GOD ordained and inalienable as it declares in our Declaration of Independence, which are based on the Word of GOD:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

(By the way, in the original document, it stated “the pursuit of land” as personal ownership of land ensured personal sovereignty and freedom to exercise liberty on one’s own domain. We are in a sense, kings of our own territory: the very word ‘kingdom’ is a contraction of “the king’s domain”.)

This is why the satanically inspired dogmas of Marxist Socialism* is being catered to by the globalists, who want to undermine the Constitution (and for the most part, have already succeeded!) which will ensure the governmental mandate of compliance in opposition to personal freedoms as given by GOD.

Check out Anne Kisly's TTUF article! THE MARXIST AGENDA: Introduction - "Our Nation Is Divided"

Thus the ideology of evolution, and the worship of creation rather than the Creator (ROM 1:25) is likewise promoted as a necessity in order to employ Socialism – where the State, not GOD is the ultimate authority; worse: the denial of GOD and therefore no other authority but the State! And in the last days, the worship of the One World Leader of the State: the Beast of Revelation (REV 13).

Likewise we see how the powers that be are fomenting strife and division through the media with such propaganda as so-called Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Covid 19, Climate Change (strongly associated with worship of nature/Earth as in ‘Gaia’, etc. 
Read the following article by Carl Teicrib entitled: All For Gaia: Earth Day and Total Transformation for a Post-Christian World

DANIEL 3:8-12
 8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near and accused the Jews. 9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. 10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image: 11 And whoever falls not down and worships, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

There was at that time the majority population of Hebrews dwelling in Babylon – but there is no mention of any of them refusing to worship: only these three and without any mention of Daniel one way or the other. It would be unreasonable to assume that Daniel would stand uncondemned had he also refused to worship the image, or that he complied to such a command (it’s been suggested that he was out of state on business for the affairs of the king, which would seem to fit the facts).

We must all be determined in our hearts and minds that no matter what, we will stay true to the LORD Jesus Christ and pray accordingly for the enabling Spirit of grace to grant us this holy resolve. “Though none go with me, still I will follow…” The pressure to conform must have been enormous for these three godly Hebrews: imagine the orchestral sounds of those instruments ringing in the ears of this vast crowd, the rustle of clothing as they all prostrated themselves – and blatantly revealed three figures standing apart.

We will likewise be exposed for who and what we are when that time comes, and the pressure to conform to the dictates of the world will be enormous – and consider that these three were threatened with the most severe of punishment for noncompliance. 
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
DANIEL 3:13-15
 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

These men were especially chosen to serve the King; they were no doubt held in high esteem and so honored. It’s not surprising therefore that Nebuchadnezzar gave them a second chance to worship his image, which by the way, stood 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide; a subtle hint of what’s to come in these last days with the image of the beast and his mark of 666.

Israel herself will know this furnace of GOD's judgment because they'll be lured into worshiping the false messiah, the beast who at such a time in the near future will stand in the holy place (MATT 24:15; 2 THESS 2:3-4; REV 13). 
But as with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, a remnant will stand apart and remain faithful to YHWH. 

Of all Christendom and professing Christianity, let us pray that we ourselves will be that faithful remnant for any persecution we may experience (ISAIAH 1:9; ROM 11:5). Let us also pray for the saints across this globe who’ve been suffering such things for generations, that they will remain vigilant and faithful!

Nebuchadnezzar unknowingly challenges the living GOD of Israel when he proposes the question, who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? 
As with Goliath who also challenged the armies of the GOD of Israel, the King of Babylon is about to get a lesson! But listen to how these godly men responded to Nebuchadnezzar:

DANIEL 3:16-18
 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

These three men replied to the King, essentially saying, “This is a no-brainer King; we don’t even need to answer the question! Of course we aren’t going to bow down to your image, and if GOD is willing to deliver us, He will; otherwise we’ll burn! Nevertheless, either way, we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship this image of gold.”

I have a hard time believing that these Hebrews worshiped the gods of Babylon, and just as hard a time believing that no one noticed that they didn't. Being who they were, I think it likely that Nebuchadnezzar looked the other way. But now it’s personal: this is an image that the King himself authorized, in declaration of his own majesty and the glory of his kingdom, which he believed would last forever (DANIEL 4:29-30)! This, he couldn’t overlook! Yet he was willing to give them a second chance – but not a third!

Being servants of the Most High, they were confident not only in GOD’s abilities, but in His willingness in delivering them; they had this hope that the LORD would in fact save them, but they were determined upon pain of death, to remain loyal to YHWH!
May we likewise have this resolve – no matter if GOD delivers us in these darkening days ahead (for some of us, He may!) or if He doesn’t, it’s no matter: we will love the LORD, serve the LORD, remain loyal to the LORD! And now for the consequences:

DANIEL 3:19-23
 19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Up until this day, it was business as usual for the Hebrews; but something was erected that these three couldn’t bow before and the king’s expression was changed against them. A look of disapproval, of disappointment, of prideful rage, perhaps even a look of hurt?
Things can change overnight. One day everything was fine in Germany – then suddenly Jews began to be ostracized and mocked, forced to wear yellow stars, their businesses vandalized; they were dehumanized, and it only grew worse for them: relocations to ghettos, then concentration camps – then ovens...

As American Christians we aren’t accustomed to wholesale hatred and rejection by society at large. Certainly, we are unpopular, misunderstood, falsely accused – but betrayed by those we thought were friendly to us? deprived of jobs, home, family and fellowship? beaten, charged without trial? Imprisoned unjustly?
Yet this could very easily become reality – overnight!

There have been reports for decades of internment camps and refurbished military bases, factories, abandoned stores with barbed wire fences, all standing virtually empty. In fact I was recently shown a video of three very large tents (large enough to take up nearly the length of a city block) with two parallel fences with the barbed wire facing both out and in, (no one gets in or out) not a 20 minute drive from my place. They say they’re for incoming migrants – we’ll see. . . 
We can’t afford to ‘hope for the best’ and blithely go about our lives. GOD is calling us to a time of preparation – just as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah prepared their hearts by daily resorting to their Refuge, the LORD GOD of Israel!
Long before this time, Israel was faced with the formidable armies of the Philistines who threatened to wipe them out, but the prophet Samuel admonished them:
1 SAMUEL 7:3 
And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
Part of this preparation involves putting away anything that is a priority over the LORD GOD: our hobbies, our careers, our families – to say nothing of pet, secret sins: it all has to go! This is what I refer to as ‘The Josiah Mandate’.  
Check out that article and make the necessary changes just as King Josiah did for the nation of Israel – the changes he made to honor GOD didn’t keep the nation from judgment, but the LORD did forestall it until Josiah passed away, and He blessed the King for his obedience.
America, I believe is under judgment; I think she’s done for, having crossed too many Divinely drawn lines, too many times; this is a time for individual citizens of America to repent and seek GOD, but no so for us as a nation.

Still, the LORD will bless us by not allowing us to witness the worst of this judgment (which I believe will occur after the rapture of the church) and bless us for our obedience and loyalty just like Josiah. And like Israel in Samuel’s day, the LORD “will deliver [us] out of the hand of the Philistines” one way or the other. Either miraculous intervention and preservation of our lives or by our death, delivering us out of the hands of our enemies by bringing us Home!

Notice that Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be super-heated, seven times hotter than usual. Seven being the number of perfection or completion, what we can take away from this is that the LORD will complete the refining process in our persecutions and tribulations and accomplish what He intends – that His name will be glorified, and we will hear from Him, “Well done good and faithful servant”!

The strongest soldiers of the King bound these three Hebrew men – just so, “the strong man” (the god of this world; 2 COR 4:4) may bind us in various ways, restricting our rights, freedoms, and mobility and eventually consignment to cells, but we need not panic or worry. I’m certain that the LORD will by His Spirit of grace assure us of the rock solid conviction of truth that He is sovereign, just as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah declared before Nebuchadnezzar!

Just when the soldiers thrust them into the furnace, they were themselves consumed in the flames, yet the Hebrews were unharmed – even as they stood in the midst of the flames! And they found a glorious Companion in there waiting for them:

DANIEL 3:24-25
 24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

There is no trial, no episode of persecution, no form of tribulation that we saints will suffer but that Jesus has gone ahead, prepared the way, and will meet with us personally when we arrive there!
“…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (MATT 28:20b).
“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (HEB 13:5b).

DANIEL 3:26-30
 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
The LORD Jesus declared: 
LUKE 21:12 
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. 18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Not only will the LORD provide for us the words of truth to speak by His Spirit (vs. 14-15), but He provided such warnings of betrayal, hatred and of imminent death as well as the promise:
“But there shall not an hair of your head perish.” How can this be when martyrs have been slain in flames of fire, torn apart by lions, mangled in gruesome ways?

This is where the eternal perspective comes in: these bodies of flesh we are presently encased in are temporary and (gradually) dying day by day and will one day be dead anyway, one way or another, then we will gain our permanent homes – not these old, worn tents, but our glorified eternal houses (2 COR 5:1). 

Personally, I would rather die for the cause of Christ than to die an arbitrary death!
Or as it's been said elsewhere "Those who are prepared to die a martyr's death have lived a martyr's life." Our hearts belong to Christ, and nothing is too big a sacrifice for Him - even our very earthly lives!

A billion millennia from now we will have forgotten all of the pain, suffering, and damages done to us for Christ’s sake and we will be rejoicing before the LORD GOD, our Maker and Savior! This is what we’ll have to recall to memory during any such time of forlorn abandonment and mistreatment, remembering also to:
…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
The King of Babylon called forth the Hebrews from the flames of the fiery furnace, and I strongly suspect that had he not done so, they would have been content to remain where they were – not for the furnace’s sake, but for the One Who kept them company in that hellish place! Which just goes to say that any place can be heaven, if JESUS is there!
Paul had to deal with a serious affliction (“a thorn in the flesh”) and prayed that the LORD would remove it, and He answered that His grace would be sufficient.
What was Paul’s response as a result of receiving that grace?
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
If we feel afraid, timid, even a twinge of cowardice at the prospects of perhaps heavy persecution, we must understand this spiritual truth that Paul learned: when we are weak, then are we strong – in Christ, because it won’t be our strength that helps us to endure, but the LORD’s, as we wait for Him to answer us in our hours of need (ISAIAH 40:30-31).
A brother in Christ once said to me something very simple, but also very, very true!
“I don’t like trials, but they are good for me!”

So come what may, let these furnaces of affliction do their GOD ordained work in us, and forge our faith to become solid, unbendable, and powerfully strong so that nothing the enemy will do, can affect us for ill.

Like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were honored by the King at the last, as will be the remnant of Israel that will greet the Messiah upon His return to Earth, likewise we shall be honored by the LORD for everything and anything we suffer for Him and the Kingdom of GOD. An ounce of suffering for Christ's sake on that Day will be showered with 10,000 tons of reward (2 COR 4:17)! 

Remember that we are ambassadors for Christ’s sake (2 COR 5:20-21) and since we belong to Him, anything done to us is really being done to Him (ACTS 22:7), and He will render vengeance upon our enemies which will be far more severe than anything we could do in retaliation (ROM 12:19), which is why the LORD admonishes us to pray for our persecutors (MATT 5:44): without those prayers, and GOD’s mercies upon them, they are doomed!
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Saints, we have the victory in Christ already and have overcome the world because He has; and Satan can never, ever take that victory from us! 
As I’ve said many times before: Nikaeo Aionios! AVRAS! That is to say, Eternal Victory! Absolute Victory (in life – or death!) Requires Absolute Surrender (to Christ).

Let us seek a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of GOD as in the day of Pentecost (ACTS 2), so that we may be faithful witnesses (martos, where we get the word ‘martyr’) to Christ, empowered and enabled to do so, just as the first century church was!

Watch: Living on Borrowed Time – Dr. David Reagan
Jan Markell spends the hour with Dr. David Reagan. We cannot know the day or hour of Christ’s return, but we can know the season—and clearly we are in it. We just have to watch the signs in nature, society’s decline, world politics, technology, and Israel’s re-birth, to know that we are living on borrowed time. Signs of His first coming came to pass and so will the signs of His return. It may be today.

Follow Jan Markell on:


Peter said...

Thank you for this James. I look forward to when our Lord arrives to save us and I will be ready to stand tall and firm for him. God Bless you and AMEN!

James J. Fire said...

Yes, we who love the LORD of Truth and Grace are grieved at the downturn of this fallen world, falling ever deeper into depravity and iniquity - we were warned by our LORD this would happen so that we wouldn't lose heart and be offended and fall away.
We long for the LORD's return and set to right everything that has been fouled by Satan and sinful man.
Until that Day of the redemption of our bodies (ROM 8:23) may we indeed stand tall and firm for Him! AMEN!