Saturday, December 12, 2009

The CRUSADE That Is CHRISTMAS!


Another year is coming to a close, and we are now merely weeks away from the festive celebration known as Christmas!


Of course we realize that Christ was more than likely born in the spring, or even more likely in the autumn season, and that December the 25th was established as the official day by the Roman Catholic Church for its own reasons.
Nevertheless, whatever day it is that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, it's right that we do so, for in so doing, we acknowledge that our salvation has come, not in any deeds we could have done by the command of the LORD Incarnate, but by merely expressing faith in the power of Christ Jesus' saving power by means of the atonement He purchased for us by His own blood, on the cross at Calvary. Indeed, the story of Christmas starts in some respects, from a stone cradle, and climaxes on a cross of wood, and then climaxes even further at a carved tomb, emptied by the RISEN CHRIST!
Then what's this about "The Crusade That is Christmas"?
We'll get to that in a moment, but first may I share with you one of my most favorite Christmas Carols? It's "JOY To The WORLD"! Here is the opening stanza:
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing!
And another stanza:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love!

There's just a couple problems with this Carol, however; first of all, this sin-laden Earth full of a sinful human race didn't receive her King! Even the Messiah's own nation, Israel, by and large rejected her Messiah!

Not every heart actually did prepare Him room; in fact relatively few hearts received Him as LORD and Savior, sadly to say.

And the second stanza says: "He rules the world with truth and grace" . . . ? Does He? As we take a look around, and acknowledge the way things are going, and then consider the justice and righteousness of the heart of God the Son, we have to admit, that He doesn't rule this world . . . not yet!

One of the titles of the LORD Jesus is the 'Lamb of God' as it is written:

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Rev 5:6
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev 22:1
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

And this LAMB of GOD was sacrificed for our sins, just as the nation of Israel had been slaying lambs for thousands of years, awaiting with hopeful expectation for the One Who would bear their sins, "ha Meschiach"; for such sacrifices as ordained by God, and codified in the Torah, the writings of Moses, were prophetic of the Messiah Who was to come. . .
and HAD COME, two thousand years ago in the little town of Bethlehem, as it is written:

Micah 5:2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Did you catch that part about He who would come forth to be ruler of Israel? This verse is speaking of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, and yet when did Jesus ever rule in Israel? He never did, but that doesn't mean He won't! For He who is the Lamb of God is also the LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH!

So declared a saintly elder in the heavenly vision that God gave to the apostle John:

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

That root of David is of course the Messiah, the LORD Jesus, who is also the LION of JUDAH.

One thing about Lions and Lambs . . . Lions are ferocious and powerful and can cause a great amount of anxiety to any one who is near one, especially if that enormous cat hasn't had lunch yet! Lambs don't cause such panic . . . uh, for obvious reasons.

In these two typologies we see the sort of coming our LORD would convey in the two different Advents to this world.

He came first to be a sacrifice and a suffering servant (as in Psalm 22), and He who humbled Himself to death, even to the death of the cross where our sins were laid upon Him (Phil. 2:8-11), was then raised up by our Father, and exalted and glorified! And one day the Father would grant Him the throne of His father, David, as it is written:

Luke 1:31-33
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.


And his reign will be glorious and universal (as in Psalm 24)! His reign will be a victorious result of having vanquished the kingdom of darkness, the domain of Satan, and that is where this idea of a 'crusade' comes in.

Merriam-Webster has one of two definitions of 'crusade' as follows:

"A remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm."

Remedial indeed, for the destructive power of sin, having wreaked God's creation, both mankind and nature, would be divinely remedied! And what an enterprise with such zeal and enthusiasm!

We see the manger scenes, and depictions of this blessed event in films and plays, and we imagine a blissful night under a starry sky, and the young Jewish woman, Mary, perhaps singing softly to her babe some Hebrew lullaby.

Yet if we could see into the spiritual realm and witness the new born King of Israel's tiny, delicately pink hands stretching forth, before Him would be immensely powerful, nearly god-like spiritual beings, holy cherubim, bowing humbly before their Holy King. These no doubt would be necessary as protection against Satan would be knowledgeable of this event, and recognize it for what it was:

A HOLY INVASION directed by the LORD of Hosts, who declared WAR upon the serpent in the garden of Eden; when that diabolical creature lured Adam and Eve from their lofty position as Stewards of the Earth by the edict of the LORD, and brought them and the entire human race into the abject, deplorable condition of miserable, sinful existence.

Satan realized that he had to destroy this Holy Child, else He would arise to crush his head, and bring about his utter defeat, as it was written:

Gen 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

King Herod believed he was acting out of a totally selfish motivation when he devised to kill all male babies, two years old and younger in the little town of Bethlehem, in order to preserve his own throne against Him, whom the Wise Men from the East (Of the Parthian Empire, the successor in that region of the former Persian Empire, of which Daniel the prophet was an advisor and leader of their royal sages, the Magi or "King-makers") called the 'King of Israel'.

(See Matthew ch. 2)

For more about this history please consider the following from K-House ministries: http://www.khouse.org/

The Christmas Story - 66/40 - K-House

Yet I believe Herod was inspired by Satan, who likewise had trepidation over losing his reign from this Invading Power, the Son of the HIGHEST!

Elsewhere the life of this child Jesus seemed threatened through satanic strategies and demonic designs.

Then in a supreme spiritual struggle Satan brought all his powers and forces to bear, and attempted to lure the Son of Man in the same methodologies as he did with Adam and Eve.

Satan knew that if he could get the Messiah to fall into sin, thus marring His perfectly sinless soul with the taint of sin's curse, He would then be invalid as a proper, spotless sacrifice for our own sins (Luke 4:1-14).

Yet Christ Jesus conquered and overcame the enemy in that testing in the wilderness, and came out from that place FULL of the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT, retaining His perfectly spotless soul untainted by even the least of sins, as it is written:

Hebrews 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 9:14
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Satan even used Peter as his mouth piece in an attempt to dissuade the Messiah from directing His steps towards the Cross, but the LORD perceived the subtlety of that serpent and gave him a scathing rebuke: "Get thee behind me, Satan!" (Matt. 16:23).

Then, perhaps the greatest trial in our LORD's life. . . the garden of Gethsemane, where what lay before Him was the weight of the entire world of stinking, wretched, putrefying, rot-ridden sins would be laid upon Him! And even more terrifying to His Most Holy Mind - - being separated from His Father, of Whom in all eternity past, He never knew a single moment of separation!

2 Cor 5:21
For he [God the Father] hath made him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Matt 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

And yet when all was said and done at Calvary, these three words echoed from that region of Jerusalem and into eternity, declaring the quintessential and decisive VICTORY over all the power of the enemy!


"IT - IS - FINISHED!!!"

And those words in the original Greek is "teleo" or "paid in full" regarding the debt of sin, committed by all mankind, against a Holy and Eternal God of Purity and Absolute Righteousness!

As the old hymn says, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow".


The LORD Jesus in all His Almighty prowess took on all the power of Satan, not with one hand tied behind His back, but with BOTH HANDS, and FEET - - NAILED to a Judean cross! AND HE OVERCAME! GLORY to GOD!!!

He stripped Satan's hellish hosts and principalities of their spiritual power and oppressive influences over the realm of mankind by taking on God's Judgment against the sins of human souls. and thus fulfilling the propitiation (a satisfactory sacrifice) that the Father required.

As it is written:

Col 2:13-15
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.


This Christmas, it is my heartfelt prayer that any who have not yet received this supreme GIFT of GIFTS from the Holy God of all Creation who yearns to be a Heavenly FATHER to the lost and weary of this world, would indeed receive this gift of salvation, granted freely from the LORD.

This day, may you know personally, the LOVE of the FATHER by receiving His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Redeemer of all mankind, He who will one day (SOON!) come back to this world!

THEN shall He be received as the KING of the world, both by Israel, just as He had been previously by the church, and by all those who shall come out of the great tribulation, having denied allegiance to the Beast, the son of perdition.

Then the PRINCE OF PEACE will rule this world and we shall all know rest and peace!

KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE - - No Jesus, No Peace!

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Phil 4:7
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

~*~ Please feel free to watch and enjoy this Christmas presentation ~*~

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are You A KNYHT In HIS Majesty's Sacred Service?

Tell me what comes to mind when you think of the word 'knight'? What sort of image does it create?
Perhaps an image not unlike the one that's posted on this particular entry.

We've all entertained romantic notions of knights from the wealth of literature and film that's been exposed to us since we were children.

Of late, we've seen epic adventures in such films as Star Wars and the Jedi Knights that are sworn to protect the Republic from all enemies; also, The LORD of the RINGS with such knightly heroes as Aragorn, Boromir and Eomer have warmed our hearts with their faithful and dutiful words and deeds.

The historical reality of knights however can sometimes present a rather dismal picture: knights were often quite self-serving, greedy, heartless, merciless vigilantes who would sell the use of their swords to the highest bidders, who were usually corrupt monarchs and aristocracy that plotted vile plans of conquest and subterfuge.

This is not to say, of course, that there weren't any knights that held true to noble and true-hearted causes; certainly there were those of honorable conduct that endeavored to hold their titles with the utmost of diligence in fighting for the cause of right. Its just that these sort were far fewer than one might presume.

Yet the concept of chivalry was born out of the lives of such men who swore allegiance to a goodly king and or noble cause, and these knights held fast to such a code of ethics and conduct.

I would like to discuss a knight of a different sort however, that is, one who is a KNYHT. A KNYHT is an allegorical term I made up to represent the Christian: one who is born of the Spirit of God, a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, one who is a subject to the LORD King, Jesus Christ our Redeemer, and a spiritual warrior sworn to His sacred (not secret) service.

Consider the word itself: 'KNYHT' and notice the letter at its very center: 'Y' which could stand for Yahweh, and certainly for the KNYHT, the very center of his heart and life encompasses the LORD God Who dwells there.

Also, if you look closely at the branches that stem from the letter 'Y' you will note that the one on the left is broader than the one on the right, which is much narrower: this speaks of the two paths- the broad way that leads to destruction and the narrow way that leads to everlasting life.

Just as Kings and Lords (of the wealthiest sort) would sometimes furnish knights with their coat of arms, a suit of armor, weapons, and wages and estates, so too are KNYHTS furnished by their KING, but far more lavishly!

For a coat of arms, we are granted the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness!

ISAIAH 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. . .

For a suit of armor, we are granted such unequaled by any other!

2 COR 6:7
By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

EPH 6:11,13
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.


And for weapons, we are given those which shall prove most lethal; the deadliest weapons ever to wreak havoc in the kingdom of darkness, which in centuries past have proven their worth just as they shall in any future campaign!

EPH 6:17
And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

HEB 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

EPH 6:18
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

For wages and estates, while we have no certain dwelling place here, and if our situation provides only food and clothing, we are therewith to be content (1 TIM 6:8); however we KNYHTs will receive no wages for the glory of entering heaven's domain; no, this is an entry established solely by the grace of God! And yet, we shall receive different degrees of reward and inheritance based on our performance in this world (MATT 25:21-23), on that Day of Judgment of Rewards; such an inheritance that we have coming would not merely stagger the imagination, but undo it entirely! Consider the awesomeness of this verse!

ROM 8:17
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.

In regards to the profundity of that verse, I can say with David (PSALM 139:6) "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." It is true that as KNYHTs, soldiers of the Savior, we shall suffer in this world, but rewards for suffering for Christ's sake will equal an "eternal weight of glory", compared to such "light afflictions" (by comparison) we may endure here (2 COR 4:17). And even as we shall share in proportion to that which Christ shall receive for His inheritance from our Father, we shall acquire even more than this!
We shall know the depths of our precious LORD Jesus; the supreme Treasure of treasures! --- to know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death (PHIL 3:10)--- and as it states elsewhere:

1 COR 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Can you even conceive of such an honor more glorious than that??? What is there about you that God doesn't know? He knows you through and through --- one day we shall know the LORD with that kind of thoroughness! Astounding!

No where else can any King boast of such benevolence towards his knights or even his own royal line! And that's precisely who we are in Christ Jesus: His royal house, His princes and princesses!
As KNYHTS, we are His soldiers (2 TIM 2:3), His priests (1 PET 2:9), His ambassadors (2 COR 5:20), His very household of sons and daughters!

And just as knights were subject to oaths of loyalty and fealty to their lords and kings, how much more are we as KNYHTS to swear our undying allegiance (even if our own bodies die in order to maintain that allegiance; 2 TIM 4:6) to the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, He who is the Holy King of Heaven, that humbled Himself to such an inconceivable degree as to take on human flesh, walk among us sinners in this sinful world and ultimately, to become sin for us on that cross (PHIL 2:7-9); He who knew no sin (2 COR 5:21)- - went to such lengths for us: what level of dedication, commitment, faithfulness, and zeal should be considered "over much" in light of this???

And in this age, and in this very time in which we live, we are engaged in a holy war, but of an entirely spiritual kind. Grave indeed was the error of the Crusades, where men in the name of Christ took up swords forged by human hands, and spilled the blood of others, contrary to the command of Christ Who told us to "love our enemies, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those that spitefully use you" (MATT 5:44).

Make no mistake, those who marched in the Crusades did so by the command of Popes, not by scripture nor by the LORD Christ Jesus!

Paul stated emphatically who our enemy is, and what sort of warfare we are to conduct:

2 COR 10:3-4
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)


EPH 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Warren Weirsbe long ago made the statement that has stayed with me for the length of my Christian life: "We battle not FOR victory, but FROM victory!"

In other words, in this spiritual warfare we as KNYHTs are engaged in, the ultimate victory has already been claimed and achieved by the Captain of our Salvation, the LORD Jesus Who purchased our salvation by His own blood, and broken the power of the enemy.

Witness the truth of this statement in the following verse:

COL 2:15
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he (the LORD Jesus) made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Its clear that in the context of the verse above, this was achieved on the cross when He redeemed us from sin and death, but at this same time, He "spoiled" (skinned, like one would an animal, stripping of power) the very powers of hell in regards to His beloved! Such was His victory that not even the highest authorities in Satan's domain can interfere in the love of God towards us, His beloved:

ROM 8:38, 39b
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So what sort of warfare is this spiritual warfare?

On a side note: you may cringe at the very idea of spiritual warfare and of battling against the forces of Satan, and say, 'Sorry, this isn't my sort of thing.' Yet if you are a Christian, you must realize that this world system that's all around us belongs to Satan, who is the god (ruler) of this world (2 COR. 4:4) and as a Christian, you already are a marked target! It's either FIGHT or FLEE and become a VICTIM! There is NO THIRD CHOICE! Yet have hope, saint of God, for you have a brilliant weapons Master who will teach your hands to war (PSALM 18:34)!

This is a very broad subject and one worthy of dozens of books containing hundreds of pages each, but I have endeavored to get into detail about spiritual warfare, and what it entails in these TTUF articles at The TRUTH Under FIRE, a web site (See the link under "Spiritual Chow" on this blog site) I co-author with one Anne Kisly.

For now let me state as briefly as possible (IS such a thing possible for me??) that our warfare is two fold in its military objectives: the first objective is internal integrity, and the second is external evangelism.

Satan, the god of this world can do nothing against us KNYHTs where our salvation is concerned: once the LORD God has purchased us with His own blood, and we receive the redemption of our souls, this is a covenant that can't be corrupted by the great enemy, and he knows this!

What he can do however, is get us compromised: to so sway us by slow subtlety and gradual deceit that we eventually cease to walk in the Spirit, and begin to walk in the flesh; to sow to our flesh in such replete fashion that we can't engage in spiritual warfare: he will have effectively deprived us of our armor, as we carelessly leave it all behind, and walk naked behind enemy lines (this world), vulnerable and weak.

The battle then is for our internal integrity, that we maintain such a walk pleasing to God, in fellowship with Him that loves us so, He willingly offered up His own Son on our behalf. We must remain diligent in the Truth of God's Holy Word, not just in understanding its doctrine, but in their practice, and not just in their practice but with the right motivation--with a heart full of undying, unrivaled love for our LORD Who first loved us (1 COR 13)!

We shall partake of communion in prayer with our heavenly Father, and in exhortation and fellowship with our fellow warriors and saints, admonishing and encouraging each other, and so much more so, as we see that Day approaching (HEB 10:25)!
Essentially, the battle is for holiness (Christ-likeness), or in other words sanctification in our lives. If we offer ourselves as willing vessels, our God will be faithful and diligent to fill us with such grace and power that our objective of internal integrity WILL MOST CERTAINLY BE ACHIEVED!!! And subsequently to this, our second objective will be successfully fruitful!

Show me a warrior strong in the LORD, who laughs at temptation, who sneers at the power of the enemy, who exalts in the love of His LORD, and I will show you a warrior who is sanctified with the genuine work of the Holy Spirit in his life!

To learn more about what it means to be sanctified, I am pleased to present to you some articles I've done, which I pray will encourage you to pursue a holy walk in your every day life:

The Simple and Serious Gospel of Salvation – Phase II The Sanctifier is the Saint's Fire (part two and three are likewise found in sequence on The TRUTH Under FIRE).

The second objective is external evangelism, and you might think that such an objective can hardly be considered spiritual warfare; evangelism isn't about warfare, its about sharing the gospel!

Yet what is the goal of the gospel? To see souls saved from sin, death and hell, right? And can we honestly assume that Satan will politely step aside while we empty his kingdom of his enslaved subjects?? Absolutely not! He will bring all his forces to bear when even once his domain is threatened by such heralders of the gospel as we!

I recall an old Jamaican saint that we missionaries of Operation Mobilization once knew in England back in 1987. We were sharing the gospel with immigrants of Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faith, and this gentleman seemed hugely successful in bringing Muslims to Christ! When we asked him how he managed to do this, he simply said in broken English, thick with Jamaican accent:
"Before I say one word to the Muslim, I say ten thousands words to LORD Jesus!"

This man understood intercessory prayer, and the nature of spiritual warfare as it relates to the Gospel!

I've heard it said that spiritual warfare is all about "UPrightness and OUTreach".

Reaching out to the lost, first with prayer on their behalf, and waiting upon God for the opportunity to share the Gospel, and then be empowered by God by His Spirit to go forth and wage war valiantly against the enemy, prying his claws from off the sorrowing, sinful soul who knows not what bondage he is in, breaking every chain that enslaves them in the darkness of that vile kingdom is what the KNYHT is all about.

As loyal soldiers, devoted to the KING of Kings, the Regent-Redeemer of the Heaven of heavens, we must heed His command and obey without question or hesitation, even more so than any earthly knight would for their own king who is but a man, whose breath is in his nostrils.

May we all, myself included, repent of any obstinate rebellion against our Holy King, and commit anew our vows of chivalrous service as KNYHTs in His Majesty's Sacred Service! Amen!

Hear my battle cry!
Nikaeo Aionios A.V.R.A.S.!

(Eternal Victory - Absolute Victory [in life] Requires Absolute Surrender [to Christ])

agape, grace & peace,

brother James a.k.a. KNYHT FIRE

post script:
May I please solicit prayer on my own behalf regarding a manuscript that I have (a novel not completed) which deals with much of these ideas of KNYHTS and warfare, but in story form. I have not worked on this manuscript for some time due to other more pressing needs to work on The TRUTH Under FIRE, as well as both blogs in getting the word out about the times in which we live and the extreme urgency Christians need in preparing spiritually for the dark days ahead.

If it's the LORD's will that I some day re-visit this manuscript and get it published it could prove a useful tool in the encouragement of the saints, as well as a means of presenting the gospel to the lost.
I would appreciate prayer for sensitivity on my part in hearing the LORD's voice and for sure direction and timing according to His will.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION?


It was the 6th century B.C. in the land of Israel.
Darius the ruler of the Medo-Persian Empire had been reigning at that time for a little over two and a half years. The people of Israel were granted permission to go and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
Yet all was far from well in that day.

The word of the LORD through the prophet Haggai was as follows:

HAGGAI 1:6-8
"Ye have sown much and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enuogh; ye drink, but ye have not filled with drink; ye clothe you but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put into a bag with holes.. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up into the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD." 


Up until that point the people had said, "The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built." vs. 2.

How they even got into such a predicament where their nation was razed, the holy city of Jerusalem was thrown down, one quarter of the entire population was slain in war, another quarter died in pestilence, another in starvation, and only one quarter remained and were led away captive in Babylon was because of their disobedience to the LORD and His Word.

Then I think of our own nation, and how collectively America has thumbed her nose at God and His Word, and even the church herself is disparaging the Holy Scriptures in ever increasing degrees.

Recall to mind the words of Thomas Jefferson, "I tremble for my country when I remember that God is just, and that His justice will not sleep forever."

The LORD encouraged His people to build the temple where once again the sacrifices could be made, offerings to the LORD, and He could meet with His people. He assured them that His Spirit remained with them just as much as in the day when He led them out of Egypt.

And on the heels of that encouragement, the LORD declared that,
Hagg. 2:6-7
". . . I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I wil shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts." 

Note, all of creation will be shaken, including all nations: there won't be a single nation that will be exempt of this Divine shaking from the LORD.
"The desire of all nations" , a title of the LORD Jesus Christ, "shall come: and I will fill this house with glory. . ."

Here is a prophecy of the LORD's return to Earth, and a picture of the Millennial Reign in which He will rule from Jerusalem, in a "house" that will be filled with His glory; no doubt the very temple as seen by the prophet Ezekiel!

We realize however that before that glorious event, perilous times are in store in our near horizons; things are going to get increasingly "shakey".

The prophet Joel said as much in Joel 3:16 -


"The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."

Anyone who's ever been in a major quake can relate to the terrifying experience as something that leaves a person very insecure. The longing for dwelling in a secure, stable environment can be overwhelming. Such an event can possibly leave one seriously psychologically impaired, and fearful.
In today's world where can we find stability and safety? Where can we look to for the security of rock-solid daily living? Where can we find peace?

In Matthew 7:24-27 the LORD Jesus declares that any that hear His Word and obey it, are like a house built upon a Rock, and its an entirely "storm-proof" structure! Such is the security for those who obey the Word of the LORD. Before you can obey it however, you must "hear" it, and this doesn't just mean using your ears. The concept behind this word is "to understand" and that takes spiritual insight granted by the Spirit of the LORD, and this is available to any and all who seek after, desire, and love the Truth.

If you desire peace and stablity, seek after, desire and love the Truth.
Then obey it.

The writer of the book of Hebrews (I believe that's the apostle Paul) admonishes the saints to
Hebrews 12:25-28
". . . refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

"Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:" 

Even in our individual lives, we may submit to the LORD Jesus in certain aspects-- our time in church, among other Christians at certain functions like prayer meetings, etc, and in a general sense, our over all lives; yet is He LORD in our home life, with our spouses and families? In our business life? Over our minds and thought life?


Any area of our lives that is founded on the Rock, the LORD Jesus, will know this security. Any area not yet submitted to the LORD in obedience to His Word will not know this security. If you're experiencing difficulties in any area in your life, ask yourself these questions:

Have I submitted this to the will of God? Is Jesus LORD in this area of my life?

Just as every man-made institution, objective and plan; every ideal and philosophy that is founded on humanistic, socialistic, atheistic, emergent church, social gospel (what have you) foundations will crumble and fall in this world. Everyone will experience this tremendous "shaking" by the LORD's hand, so that only that which is founded on Him will endure. So too, every area in our lives not submitted to the LORD Jesus will suffer loss, and only that which is granted to the LORD, this alone will not only survive, but prosper - - even in the midst of hardships, trials and perilous times in our near future!

Incidently, that temple that was built in the days of Haggai was the very same structure that survived into the days in which the LORD Jesus walked the land of Israel; granted it was expanded lavishly under the architectural prowess of Herod the Great, but it was, at its core, the same temple structure that was built several hundred years prior.


Yet the LORD prophecied in Matthew chapter 24 that not one stone would remain on top of another, that is, it would be destroyed!
Why? Quite simply, because the WORD of the LORD had come into their midst, in the flesh, and as a nation, they rejected Him, He who is the Messiah of Israel! Yet, while God is not even today finished with the nation of Israel (she has a fantastic future in store, in fulfillment of promises made both to Abraham and to David), she was in 70 A.D. once again dispersed. She had as before, been disobedient to the LORD, the WORD made flesh!


May we, who are called by the Name of the LORD Jesus, renew our commitment to our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ, and be hearers, doers, obedient children and lovers of the WORD and thus remain steadfastly secure, and stable on Him, Our Firm Foundation! He alone is our grace, peace and joy!

May the LORD Jesus Christ, bless each and every one of you - - WAY TOO MUCH!!



How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.



agape,

brother James

Friday, October 16, 2009

SUICIDE SOLUTION: The RIGHT CHOICE - It's Not What You Think




Suicide is becoming an ever increasing problem in
the face of despair, hopelessness and lack of purpose or worth in our society.

I recently read a prayer request about a serviceman who returned from his tour of duty overseas.

Even returning home, being among family and friends, this man sunk lower and lower into mysterious despondency, and eventually took his own life.

I dedicate this poem in memorial to all the souls, that, for whatever reason took their lives and ended their time prematurely on this Earth. Further, and even more fervently, I dedicate it to those who are thinking about suicide, and I would implore you through this poem, and the remaining article to resist this desperate action, and choose life instead!



Lamentations Of A Young Death

~o*o~


Sorrow furrows a smooth brow,
Eyes of anguish shed hot wax tears.
Despair crushes a fluttering heart,
Regrets untold throughout the years.


A drug, a gun, a plummeting fall,
Answer the Reaper's beckoning call.
A young life is now snuffed out:
Ere eternity is known about.


A souls unleashed from fleshy chambers,
Its fate to meet in cryptic dangers.
A spirit not wedded to the Lamb,
To face flames forever with the damned.


How loved he would have been, and cherished!
So unwilling is He to see dear souls perish.
Fashioned to be crowned with glory and joy,
Yet misery had stalked him, and destroyed.


Life, a vapor, even years of ninety,
pales before brilliant eternity.
Waste not a moment to seek the Lord of life:
To live with Him forever- free from strife.


written by James Fire, 1983



I recall this account of a suicide hot line event, where a pastor answered a caller's plea. She was thinking about killing herself, and the pastor agreed that this is what was necessary. He stunned both the caller and the other phone counselors, but before anything else could be said, he quickly continued.

"Just because you need to die, you shouldn't take it out on your body. You're body has nothing to do with your misery and hopelessness. Its just muscle, flesh, bone and blood. No, your real problem is in the mind, and even more so, in your heart."

"You see," the pastor explained, "because of the fact that each and every one of us are sinners, because of the fact we have broken God's Holy Law, and lived our lives the way we see fit, rather than seeking to please our Maker, we have received the wages of sin, which is death. Our bodies will eventually die from whatever cause, but they only die because we are spiritually dead, cut off from the only Spiritual source of life there is: God Himself!

"Our sin has separated us from the LORD, and the results of sin brings about all the misery and hopelessness, despair and ruin that we experience in this fallen world, a planet of people that's entirely alien to awareness, fellowship with and love for God.

"So what you need to do, is not kill your body, but kill your sinful self. Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and if you will receive His substitution for your death and declare Him as LORD of your life, you will find your old self crucified with Christ, and discover new life in Jesus Christ!

"God so desires to give you His Love and Peace, Joy and Hope; He longs to have a love relationship with you, and be your very own heavenly Father, Who will one day bring you into His loving arms in Heaven. He has accomplished the means for this through His Son, the LORD Jesus Christ!"


The young lady was rapt in her attention, grunting agreement in between the pastor's pauses, and when he finally gave her the opportunity to receive Jesus as her Lord, the pastor could hear her quietly sobbing. 
Moments later she was not only saved from her despair and suicidal thoughts, she was saved for all eternity in Jesus Christ!

Now let me share a few verses with you:

JOHN 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

You are a member of this world, a fellow human being on this planet-therefore you are also supremely loved by God, because the above verse states that God so loved the world (and all people residing on it) that He gave us a precious gift-His very own Beloved Son! That's how much God loves YOU!

ROMANS 3:23-24
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Because of the fact that we all have sinned, none of us can approach God on our own. We need a go-between, a mediator who can meet us both half way. That's the LORD Jesus. He is God the Son and being sinless has approach to God the Father, and He is also perfect Man, and can stand in our stead, and take our sins upon Himself, which He did as the Lamb of God. He redeemed (purchased back) us by His own blood!

ROMANS 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus got nailed for us all, on that Cross, and took death for every person's sins ever committed in the past, present and future. He then replaced that curse of death with eternal life, dwelling in every one who believes in Him, receives His sacrifice and declares Him LORD of their life.

GAL. 2:20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We Christians are in a very real, spiritual sense, crucified with Christ, and dead to our sinful nature (see ROM 6:11) and alive in Jesus to have a living powerful relationship with God as full and rich as that relationship Jesus Himself shares with the Father!
But it all starts with the first step-
Repentance: we must acknowledge our sin before God, admit our guilt, and then turn around and away from our old life of rebellion against the LORD and His Holy Law, and turn without any reservation to the Savior, the LORD Jesus Christ, for only He can save us from our sin!

1 JOHN 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2 COR 7:10
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

PHIL. 3:19-20
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;


Jesus is our righteous substitute before God, we no longer have to feel obligated to 'live a good life so you can go to heaven some day'! The Truth is, we never could live such a life . . . not on our own any way: yet with Jesus living in and through us, we are able, by His Spirit living in us! Its like a glove, powerless to do anything at all, but with a hand inside, it can do anything that the hand can do!

The more we die to ourselves, the more alive we become to God, and knowing God is the secret to eternal life, love, joy and all the rest!

May I encourage any who might read this: if you are in the black night of the soul and see no way out but suicide, please, please, please consider what you have read here. Consider Jesus! He loves you!


For more to read, access these articles:

To understand the value GOD the FATHER would see you in the Person of Christ, read this: The PRICE of BLOOD.

For an in-depth study of the Gospel and why it's important, see this first in a series of articles: The SIMPLE But SERIOUS GOSPEL.


Please feel free to contact me at the email address provided from the "About Me and Contact Info" column or simply copy and paste: KNYHTF1RE@gmail.com 

GOD is on your side, and wants you for Himself, to love forever!

update:as of Dec. 25th 2009
Please watch this short video, a song by Shawn McDonald entitled "Take Hold". 
This young man's music for the LORD blessed me with incredible richness; his love, devotion and yearning for all that is JESUS is evident in every song. If you haven't heard any of his music yet, check this out (and others on youtube) and buy a CD or two of his.

 

agape, grace and peace,

brother James Fire

Sunday, October 11, 2009

VOICE of the MARTYRS-WE ARE ONE


Here is another article regarding the condition of the church elsewhere in the world. In a word, that condition is: persecuted.

I received a dvd from Voice of the Martyrs, and it was so moving, that I wanted to post it on youtube, but since I only just received it, I didn't have time to secure authorization from VOM to do so.

As it turns out, its unnecessary, as there are already good videos posted about VOM on youtube. We will look at those in a little bit.

First, might I inquire about what you've done with my previous request? Have you taken a look at the V.O.M. web site ?
I have a link for V.O.M. at this blog FROM the MIND of FIRE for your convenience so you can access it at any time.

Have you looked at some of the links, and prayerfully considered lending your voice and heart on their behalf in prayers to the LORD for their liberation and, or protection from their persecutors? 

Have you interceded that the LORD would bestow His abundant grace to these, our brothers and sisters in the faith, that they would by the power of the Spirit remain faithful and steadfast despite any opposition? Despite even martyrdom?

You can find specific names of people, from specific places in the world where they are undergoing severe persecution!

Take a look at PRISONER ALERT.

Can I tell you about Gao Zhisheng?

On Feb. 4, Gao Zhisheng, was abducted by Chinese secret police from his hometown. Since 2005, Gao has been repeatedly arrested, imprisoned and severely tortured by Chinese authorities, mostly for his work defending Chinese Christians. In 2006, he and a group of prominent human rights lawyers created the Association of Human Rights Attorneys for Chinese Christians. In 2007, he was arrested and spent over 50 days behind bars where he was tortured.

“I was beaten so badly that my whole body began shaking uncontrollably on the floor,”

What about Marzieh and Maryam in Iran? We are aware of the fact that in Iran there is tremendous work in the Spirit going on; Muslim people there are having dreams and visions of Jesus, and getting saved, dedicating their lives to the Savior.
Listen to the story of these two ladies who are now committed Christians:

On March 5, Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor were arrested by Iranian security forces and labeled "anti-government activists," according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN).
Thirty year-old Marzieh and 27-year-old Maryam are being held at Evin Prison, which is notorious for treating women badly.
"Both women are allowed just a one-minute telephone call everyday to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention," FCNN reported.
During their last call on March 28, Mazieh said that she was suffering from an infection and high fever. She said, "I am dying." Marzieh and Maryam's apartment was searched and their belongings were confiscated. "Their only crime is that they are committed Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus,"

Were you aware that you can write a letter of encouragement to one imprisoned for the name of Jesus Christ? A few words from a fellow believer half way around the world, letting a lonely, persecuted saint know that they are not alone; others are aware of their situation and are fervently praying on their behalf, can go a long, long way!

How would you feel if you were in that prison and received such a letter?
. . . me too!

You can also send an email to government officials, beseeching them to release prisoners from their sentence. Are such things really effective? You decide; take a look at these: Click here to view prisoners who have been released

There are other things we can do to get involved in helping out our persecuted family in Jesus the world over; look through the web site of Prisoner Alert and you access even more information from the main site of http://www.persecution.com/

Now I'd like you to sit back and watch some of these video clips, if you would:

Persecuted Church (5:39)

Voice of the Martyrs: We Are One (3:52)

Voice of the Martyrs: Sarah's Trail of Blood (6:47)

Voice of the Martyrs: Bibles Unbound (2:54)

1 COR 12: 25-27
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 

MATT. 25: 37-40
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 


Saints, let's reach out in Jesus love and touch the lives of these, our brethren!
I pray that the LORD Jesus Christ genuinely bless each and every one of you . . . WAY TOO MUCH!!!

Agape, grace and peace,
brother James FIRE

A.V.R.A.S.!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A CALL TO ANGUISH by David Wilkerson and an AMEN From me



Hello Beloved Saints of the LORD,

I've received this message from a sister at the church where I fellowship; it was a composite message from a 5 part series by pastor David Wilkerson of Times Square Church in New York City (all 5 segments are included here-see below).


This message has so struck me, struck me so deeply, that as soon as I finish this posting, I'm going to retreat to my room and get down on my knees and seek God with all my heart concerning the state of our nation, the state of our church, the condition of the hearts of believers, especially the young believers who are falling by the way side, abandoning the faith because of the indoctrination of godless university professors that denounce the Bible.


Pastor Dave has spoken of "a call to anguish", and I have heard that call.

I desire to answer that call, and there is only one place I can go to deliver that answer:

To the very throne of God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel. I don't know what will happen as a result, I don't know what the LORD will speak to me. I only know that I want to share in God's heart, and to know the agony that's there over the condition of His body, the church; the compromise and the sin that's afflicting it.

I want to spend that time in God's presence and to see this nation as He sees it, no matter what it may cost me. I want to renew my commitment to intercessory prayer, and labor intensely in this work, and persist until I see a crack in the satanic walls that circumferences our nation; those satanic forces that have pushed and pushed against the church, goading it to deeper and deeper forms of compromise and sin.

I am going into prayer with the purpose of sharing God's heart, and with the intent to make a difference in the lives of my precious brothers and sisters in the LORD, and this nation that I love so much.

After hearing this message, its my heart felt prayer that you will join me there, in the spirit, at the throne of God: shoulder to shoulder - co-laborers in this agonizing ministry of intercessory prayer. Or perhaps it will be myself, joining you who are already there! I'm sure that must be the case . . .

Its far past the time when the church, with one heart and one soul, the saints of the LORD Jesus Christ should have declared war against Satan and his principalities and powers, and we have lost time to make up for. This is an engagement of war! Suit up your armor!

Let's get before God: one on One - in our prayer closets.

Let us see what God desires us to see: what will bless His Holy heart, and rain down a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit - - a bride that yearns to return to her First love, that yearns to be spiritually chaste and holy; walking in the righteousness of Christ and trembling at His Word; a bride that refuses to compromise with the world, refuses to tolerate spiritual impurity in the pews or leaven-rotted sermons in the pulpits of our churches.

A Church that doesn't shy away from declaring the Truth of God's Holy Word and His everlasting Gospel!

Here is pastor Dave's white-hot, God breathed message: may it break all of your hearts as it has broken mine. Amen.

Here is the full message, unedited:

A CALL TO ANGUISH - Full Sermon: 56:02 minutes


For a composite message, watch this:

BRAVEHEARTED THOUGHTS: A Call To Angusih - 7:24 mins

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Poem - "HEARKEN"


HEARKEN


Hearken to my words, ye rebels of the LORD,
You rage against your Maker in strife and discord.
You rend the earth in battle with blood upon your sword,
The riches of Satan's kingdom, you do lust to horde.


Listen to my cry, ye traitors of the KING:
You've followed after sin and felt its deadly sting.
Satan is your chosen master and to hell he shall bring:
Your immortal souls, in the flames writhing.


Hearken to my words ye transgressors of His Law:
Who of you is innocent, holy, without flaw?
Your hearts are wholly wicked, just as He foresaw.
You're trapped and snared beneath Satan's crushing claw!


Listen to my cry, ye traitors of the King:
You are wretched, poor, pathetic things.
Helpless upon your feet to trod the living road,
enter into heaven, and there make your abode.


Hearken to my words, ye hopelessly lost:
Are you fearful of hellfire, and there be tossed?
There is a way of escape, a means to meet the cost.
For the Son of God Himself has come, to save the lost!


Take heed His Word, ye tired and heavy laden.
Born into this world was He, and in a manger laid in.
He lived pure and holy and within there dwelt no sin,
A Lamb to be slain was He, that we might enter in!


He healed the sick and uplifted the lame,
gave His Holy Spirit; souls were never the same.
He lived a life of purity, in His heart there was no shame.
He came to purchase salvation; for our sins, to take the blame.


Ravaged by the horror of death, He hung upon the cross.
Tormented for six long hours, He suffered all our loss.
The gates of hell, the sins of all men, came down upon His heart:
He cried to the Father, and His Spirit did depart.


He slept in the earth for three days, and then He rose anew!
He destroyed the powers of sin and death, for the sake of you!
He'll show you His Almighty love shining: a heavenly hue!
Healing your blind eyes, He grants a glorious kingdom view!


God Himself shall enter your heart and make within His home.
He'll lift you to heavenly places, you'll never need to roam.
He'll make in you a new creation, a wonderful, beautiful poem.
Look upon your LORD Jesus; seek New Jerusalem, your home.


Rejoice in the LORD always, ye citizens of heaven above!
For one day He shall return! We'll take to flight like a dove!
We'll see His Holy face, and be made like Him in perfect love!
And through agape, His children shall be drawn skyward above!


Praise the name of God, for He alone is worthy of our praise!
Let His bride be standing ready, shining forth in these last days!
He'll speak forth His Word, and the universe shall pass away!
Before the eyes of His beloved, a new world shall He lay!


Come unto the LORD and glorify His blessed Name eternally!
You will be filled with love, joy and peace, radiating fervantly!
Throughout the millennia, the glory and the power of God we shall see!
Forever through the ages we'll be one in love for all eternity!


dedicated to the KING of Kings, the LORD Jesus Christ

by James Fire - 1984



Praying For The Persecuted - Part II of II

The Purifying Effect of Persecution For the People of God is not something to be feared, although we might dread the thought, and any pain or suffering associated with it.
Here in America we are beginning to see the first signs of persecution, and for those who aren't seeing this, may I suggest a reading of the book by Janet Folger, The Criminalization of Christianity.
Increasingly the Federal government is enacting legislation that would hinder the church and the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the Hate Crime law and the proposed Fairness Doctrine.
As humanism and atheism expands across our landscape, producing more adherents via our public (socialist-style) school systems, or as I like to call them 'propaganda centers', these same youth are abandoning the evangelical, fundamental, Bible-believing churches.
This is creating an environment where it's believed that there is no absolute truth, no exclusively divine source of truth; its an ecumenical perspective couched in pantheistic dogma which will inevitably be sanctioned and ratified by our government as a State religion, excluding all others as illegal forms (including biblical Christianity).
J. Vernon Mcgee was once quoted as saying that when the persecution of the body of Christ would strike the saints here in America, it would be committed by the denominational churches.
As a matter of biblical history, its always been the religious who have persecuted God's people. From the priests of Baal, to the multitude of false gods in Canaan, whom many Hebrews worshipped and themselves persecuted their righteous brethren, to the Roman empire (Caesar worship) that persecuted both Israel and the church, and throughout time, we see that this holds true.
Even among Communist regimes, where humanism is held sacred and man himself becomes the object of worship, and thus 'religious' in that sense, Christians are persecuted; and of course Islam is a tremendous proponent of persecution.
Voice of the Martyrs and DC Talk have collaborated in writing two books, simply entitled: Jesus Freaks, Vol. 1 and 2, and in these pages we read about the early church during the first two centuries, the church in the Dark ages, and the church in contemporary times that have suffered persecution. Of course there is that much older text that's become very well known: Foxes Book of Martyrs, and this along with the two more contemporary books are quite the humbling read!

I would recommend all of these as must reading for any Christian. They are as inspiring as they are humbling, and I believe we need to learn some valuable lessons from these, our brethren who have passed on to reap that "eternal weight of glory" where they have sown the seeds of obedience to Christ Jesus and His Gospel, even unto death.
Our primary source of information when it comes to learning about persecution and how to deal with it, is of course the Holy Bible, but before we address these verses and a bit of exposition on them, I'd like to share with you what Richard Wurmbrand (Pastor Richard Wurmbrand Biography, Founder of Voice of the Martyrs, Tortured for Christ » Biography) said about this subject:
When you face that time of pain and suffering, and have to come to the decision to walk into such for Christ's sake, it won't be the accuracy of your doctrine that will carry you through, it won't be the number of scriptures you've memorized, it won't be your acts of charity or church service that will sustain you. The only thing that will sustain you is your relationship with Jesus Christ!

Mat 5:10-12
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
We don't associate persecution with "blessed" and yet the LORD, the Truth incarnate has said as much. The essential in this blessedness, and our reason to be "exceeding glad" is that we are persecuted for righteousness (not holier than thou attitude, arrogance, rudeness, smug exclusivity) sake.
It's when we conduct ourselves as befitting citizens and true ambassadors for Christ, and as a result of such righteous, holy living, and the proclamation of the Gospel, we are persecuted by those in darkness who are unwilling to come to the Light, that we find a blessing that is, the assurance that "great is your reward in heaven".
When we live as Jesus did on this earth, its then that we can expect the same world that crucified our LORD, will vilify and persecute us, as He said it would:
Jhn 15:20
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
In the third chapter of Daniel we read about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the trial they faced in the furnace of fire, but this trial was at its heart, a persecution of these OT saints who refused to bow the knee to a false god, and stand for righteousness; in maintaining their allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Note the final outcome of that trialsome persecution: their enemies were destroyed (that is, those soldiers who were commanded to throw them into the furnace, heated seven times greater than usual); their bonds that restrained them were burned away; they enjoyed fellowship with the LORD, and so much so, that even though they were freed of their bonds, they remained in the furnace, rather than to leave their LORD! The LORD was glorified by none other than the King of Babylon himself who proclaimed a royal edict stating that any who would speak a word against the God of these three Hebrew saints would be executed!
We too will find that in the time of our LORD's choosing, our great enemy, Satan, and all of his legions will one day be perpetually destroyed in Gehenna. In the way of the persecuted, the saints have found that so many besetting sins that were once such a struggle, fall away when under the stresses of these greater problems, and yet in the midst of such, the grace of our LORD is greater still!
We find fellowship in the midst of these sufferings, indeed the fellowship of Christ's sufferings offer such a sweetness, that we would rather remain in the throes of such trials, and have this grace remain, than to depart from the LORD and that fiery furnace. As we endure such things with the JOY of the LORD as our strength, others around us will be mystified by our attitude and conduct, and they will want to know why we are the way we are.
At such an opportunity the hearts of the unrepentant are ripe for the harvest, as we proclaim the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and gently lead them to the Savior who alone can bring them to the Kingdom Eternal.
Four more scriptural references and we're done here!
In Acts chapter 4, the apostles, now empowered by the Holy Spirit boldly proclaim the Gospel and they are brought before the Sanhedrin, demanded by them to account for themselves, imprisoned, scourged, and commanded to not preach in "this name again".
Yet Peter and the others were unrelenting!

Act 4:19
But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
When they returned to the fellowship, they had a prayer meeting and said . . .

Act 4:29-30
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to
. . . what? to smite? to judge? to mete out destruction? No! . . . to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
Lastly, consider Paul and his afflictions, and how he considered these things:

1Cor 4:11-13
Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
And . . .

2Cr 4:11-18

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory*; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
*Consider what afflictions Paul endured (2Cr 11:23-28), and yet he thinks of these things as "light"? Yes! Compared to the reward he will receive in heaven, YES!
Blessed are YOU also when you endure these trials, persecutions, sufferings in Christ, and yet glorify God through it all, and remain steadfast as a faithful witness for JESUS our LORD and SAVIOR! Amen!
Please remember to pray for our persecuted family in Jesus the world over, and to visit VOM (Voice of the Martyrs - web site at this blog under "Links To Live By").
Yours in the battle,
Nikao Aionios AVRAS!

May the LORD Jesus bless you all WAY TOO MUCH!

brother JAMES FIRE