No Java bars, Spotlights, or Skinny jeans in the Lion’s Den.

The American Church and the Lion's Den.

Political chaos has whirled around the nation from the east coast to the west coast and back again.

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The ugly and bitter primary resulted in a man whose moral compass points in a direction that makes people of faith shiver with fear of the direction he will take this nation.

A nation divided.

The results of the election were not surprising both politically and spiritually.

Politically, after decades of corruption and the completion of the “transformation of our nation,” the divide was not a surprise. The American people had enough, and Mr. Trump gave them what they were searching for. Patriotism and bold speech with grand talking points.

Spiritually, there was no surprise to see the divide split the faith community. It had been coming for years. The American church has reached a point where we are looking more and more like the pictures in the National Geographic magazines of the children with distended bellies due to starvation, standing next to a dry well searching for water. The only difference is the layers placed over the picture creating the look of an absolutely normal picture. Concert style fog lights, coffee bars, social clubs, and skinny jeans cover the picture of the starvation. The picture of relevance. The church has brought in corporation strategists and placed the pastor in a closet. They use him only as a tool to promote the business.

Under all that fancy-schmancy stuff (not bad in and of themselves), the real picture shows pews full of sheep, weak and starving, who’ve just tasted the first waves of persecution, and they have no idea what to do. The Trump factor was just a symptom of the real problem. Spiritual starvation.

Don’t get me wrong. It is what it is. I understand political reality. Political reality says it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Trump was not my guy in the race. I chose Ted Cruz. I’ve been grateful to see Trump surround himself with conservative, wise counsel. I also believe God can and will use anybody or anything to accomplish what He wants. I do not fear this election. He still sits on the throne no matter who sits in the White House. Our problems will not be fixed by any politician or any political party.

My greater fear.

The consequences of the silent pulpit far outweigh the results of any political election. The silence has bred our political choices, our apathy, the new age faux god, humanism, moral relativism, and a generation of dead babies.

the-courage-to-do-a-speech-when-have-social-phobiaWe no longer teach about holiness, sanctification, and sin. Oh yes, those things are in the Bible, but folks need to go find them and interpret them individually.

The silent pulpit has fed the church a simplistic, social, sinless, feel good gospel for nearly a generation, and now we are reaping the consequences at the ballot box.

Politically there is a spotlight on the sin of homosexuality because those friends are currently being used by politicians and the left for their agenda to dismantle Christianity. Preachers are scared to death of this topic because one mention of this, and they are eaten alive by the politically correct cannibals in the public square.

However this is not the only sin that has bound the mouths of our shepherds.

Try mentioning divorce, sex before marriage, gluttony, cussing, pride, lust, pornography that captures the hearts of 50% percent of our Christian men and 20% of our Christian women.

How many preachers are preaching on the seriousness of the Armor of God? We are about to be thrown into a den of lions as Christians and most LITERALLY are powerless. The lions are drooling and ready to devour us, and our pews are full of starving powerless sheep who are worried about the next President of the United States and how to fix the economy.

With no power, we have forced our preachers to serve feel good messages, remove holiness, and to allow politics to invade our pulpits. Oh they say that hasn’t happened, after all, they would never allow a voter’s guide to be passed out or a politician to stand behind the pulpit.

But try to mention issues!

NO WAY!

  • Abortion and the slaughter of an entire generation is a “democrat” issue, and there may be a democrat sitting in the pews that we would not want to offend.
  • Homosexuality? That’s a political hotbed right now. Preachers RUN from this subject faster than you can say “Praise the Lord, and pass the offering plate!”
  • Divorce? Thank Ronald Reagan for that one! We can’t talk about the number one issue people face today because nearly all of us have been touched some way by this devastating thing.
  • Sex before marriage? We wouldn’t want the millennials to leave the church!
  • How about how to vote Biblically? Well that certainly IS political, and we don’t want to touch politics.

Friends, Shepherds, Parents…

1107_4496975We are about to be thrown into the lion’s den and we have no armor. Naked sheep won’t fare well in the grasp of the beast.  Powerless sheep will be dead sheep!

We need leadership. It’s time our leaders prepare this generation for the next trip to the fiery furnace instead of the next Pokémon hunt!

It may be the easy path to lead the sheep away from politics, but in the end, politics will be the jaws of the lion ready to devour your weak sheep.  I’m not talking about Republican or Democrat. I’m talking about the issues that have bound our pews into silence.

So how do you prepare to meet the lions face to face?

Here are 8 things you can do to prepare.

  1. Know what God says about His boundaries. There is massive confusion right now even in our church circles. Right is now wrong, and wrong is now right.  If your shepherd is not teaching this, find a church who will. Learn to self-feed. Throw away the self help books and find out what GOD says. You HAVE to know the Word of God. Not an interpretation or what others “want” it to say. The real Word of God. Many of our churches want to talk about His blessings but run from talk about His boundaries. This is dangerous because His boundaries bring protection.
  2. Untitled design (2)Be resolv(ED). Daniel 1:8 says Daniel was resolved to not defile himself. This means he knew before the lion’s den how to live and how he would react. If you don’t prepare now for persecution, you will be the first to fall. Know how you will respond BEFORE you are unfriended on Facebook (yes that is the average answer from Christians when asked why they are silent), called a bigot, or a hate monger.  I have many friends who tell me they won’t speak up because their friends disagree with them and will leave them. I believe in a God who will restore to you that which you lost. When you think of holding back, are you OK if your silence walked your friend straight to hell?
  3. Know your identity. Live your identity. My friend Kim Hilton said it best… “In the corner of fear, in the cower of a moment, in the courage of stance, in the conviction of action – carried deep within, each of these comes from one specific attribute: Identity. In the morning when we rise and in the night when we close our eyes we cannot ever forget our identity. For it is in identity that courage arrives. It is in identity conviction steps forward. Know who you are. Know each day the identity of who you are. For it is in identity we have God-given courage, the same courage that the Apostles carried throughout the world. Know ahead of time who you are. When the pressure comes there will not be time to make a decision. Know your identity. You can reach Kim Hilton on her YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwxELKs02lyGt70iW5N0syg
  4. Be prepared to look like an alien.  We must learn to stand apart. We are not going to be popular. Jesus said Himself that ALL who desire to live a godly life in Christ WILL be persecuted. (II Timothy 3:12) It doesn’t say IF!  You will not look like your friends. Embrace it and prepare for it.
  5. Learn how to use the Armor of God. Many don’t know how to use it, or for that matter, that they have it at their disposal! Pray Scripture and put on the full armor of God. If you want a refresher course, Ephesians 6:10-18 holds all the pieces!
  6. Live with Conviction. Most American Christians live by preference. They prefer to live religiously and would prefer to live Biblically, but when it comes down to it… it’s just preference, not conviction. Conviction is something you give your life for. Are you prepared to break the law if you are forced to do so?
  7. Be ready for sneak attacks. Satan is a deceiver. He is sneaky. He knows how to trip you up. The Bible says even the very elect will be deceived. We must live so close to the heart of God that we KNOW what He wants us to do and where the enemy will trip us up.
  8. Be prepared to stand alone. We have reached the point in History where we are the minority. We will stand alone. There is a remnant who will stand, but we must find them. The friends you have now, you probably will not have next year if you choose to stand on God’s side. The quicker we figure this out, the easier it will be!

One of the best books I have read is the brand new book by David and Jason Benham called “Living Among the Lions. They share a story in this book about how to live in this new world without getting its diseases.  They gave this story:

Talking about their mother baking Chocolate Chip Cookies:  We would watch her take all the ingredients– flour, butter, vanilla, baking soda, salt, eggs, sugar (did we say sugar?), and mix them all together. Once she was done, there was a batch of brown heaven staring at us. Just one more thing was needed– the almighty chocolate chips.

As we watched our mom strike the final chord to her masterpiece by adding in these sweet little morsels of goodness, we learned a valuable lesson. All the other ingredients actually blended in together, losing their original form, no longer recognizable in the batter. But the chocolate chips never did– they only mixed in. In each bite we had no clue what was butter, sugar or flour, but we always  knew when we bit into a chocolate chip. Things only got better as she would pop them into the oven. Even in this fiery baking chamber, the chips still maintained their distinct shape and size. They never lost their “chocolate-chippiness,” even when the heat turned up…. We are to mix in, not blend in–we keep our form remaining completely distinct and separate, even when the heat is turned up.

 

 

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