Saturday, May 31, 2014

Betraying God

They have dealt treacherously against the Lord. - - - Hosea 5:7

Believer, here is a sorrowful truth! Thou art the beloved of the Lord, redeemed by blood, called by grace, preserved in Christ Jesus, accepted in the Beloved, on thy way to heaven, and yet, "thou hast dealt treacherously" with God, thy best friend; treacherously with Jesus, whose thou art; treacherously with the Holy Spirit, by whom thou hast been quickened unto life eternal! How treacherous you have been in the matter of vows and promises. Do you remember the love of your espousals, that happy time - - - the springtime of your spiritual life? Oh, how closely did you cling to your Master then! saying, "He shall never charge me with indifference; my feet shall never grow slow in the way of His service; I will not suffer my heart to wander after other loves; in Him is every store of sweetness ineffable. I give all up for my Lord Jesus' sake." Has it been so? Alas! if conscience speak, it will say, "He who promised so well has performed most ill. Prayer has oftentimes been slurred--it has been short, but not sweet; brief, but not fervent. Communion with Christ has been forgotten. Instead of a heavenly mind, there have been carnal cares, worldly vanities and thoughts of evil. Instead of service, there has been disobedience; instead of fervency, lukewarmness; instead of patience, petulance; instead of faith, confidence in an arm of flesh; and as a soldier of the cross there has been cowardice, disobedience, and desertion, to a very shameful degree." Thou hast dealt treacherously. Treachery to Jesus! what words shall be used in denouncing it? Words little avail: let our penitent thoughts execrate the sin which is so surely in us. Treacherous to Thy wounds, O Jesus! Forgive us, and let us not sin again! How shameful to be treacherous to Him who never forgets us, but who this day stands with our names engraven on His breastplate before the eternal throne.  

- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Satanic "Christianity"

From time to time, we've taken the liberty on this blog to mention some of the ... shortcomings ... of the "religion" of Mohammedanism (or "Islam," as it's called by its adherents and apologists).  Today, just to be fair, we're going to cast a gimlet eye on Christianity itself: or, at least, what some people think is Christianity.  In fact, what you're about to see isn't Christianity at all, but is a genuinely Satanic counterfeit of Christianity. These are the self-proclaimed"Charismatics," formerly known as "Pentecostals."

The Pentecostal Movement is not new, but neither is it old, in Christian terms: it stretches back several hundred years, but not several thousand.  We won't go into all the history; that has been done by others.  The early history of Pentecostalism in America includes such zany figures as John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907), the so-called "Father of Healing Revivalism in America," founder of "Zion City" in Illinois; Charles Parham of Topeka, Kansas (1873-1929), founder of the "Fire-Baptized Holiness Church" and head of a "Bible school" there;"  and, of course, the flamboyant, sensual, and incredibly meretricious Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), the notorious, headline-seeking founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.  "Sister Aimee" was the first to use mass meetings, and especially the medium of radio, to increase her audience, and she was as successful as she was shamefully immoral : for a time, this slattern (three husbands and uncounted "hookups") was the most popular woman on America's radio waves, except for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.  All of these people (except for Mrs. Roosevelt) claimed to be latter-day prophets and/or apostles of God, although the true Apostolic Age ended in the First Century; all preached a "gospel" of physical healing, speaking in tongues, and claimed to be able to perform all the miracles of the original apostles, because they had been "gifted" (that's what "charismatic" means) in a special way by God.  They were, probably without exception, possessed by unclean spirits, popularly known as demons.

"Sister Aimee" and an early convert
But this is not a history of the Pentecostal Movement.  To see real Satanic "Christianity" in action, we need to fast forward to the late 20th century, when television had enabled so many Pentecostals (Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, etc.) to amass vast international followings. The swindles and depredations of such characters are legendary, and were often marked by monetary greed, sexual immorality, and other concerns.  But in this post, we're examining something much more serious: the twisting of the Christian Gospel by Charismatic writers and preachers into something utterly demonic.  (We will use the term "Charismatic" and "Pentecostal" interchangeably henceforth.) In the 20th century, a whole new Christian theology sprang up from the bowels of Hell, preached by such men as William Branham (1909-1965), Kenneth Hagin Sr. (1917-2003), and David Yonggi Cho (1936- ) of South Korea. These were the founders of the "Word-Faith" movement, which morphed into the "name it and claim it" theology of the "prosperity preachers." It also involved truly blasphemous distortions of Christian theology: various contemporary adherents preach and write that "all Christians are Gods," that Satan can be easily defeated by any Christian, that the Holy Spirit can be controlled by hand motions or puffs of breath from the preachers (as you're about to see), and that laughing hysterically and barking and grunting like animals are "fruits of the Holy Spirit."  One very influential church, the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, has had such insane "manifestations" as "spiritual pregnancies" and sensual displays in the church services that stopped just this side of sexual intercourse.  (The Brownsville "revival" was an offshoot of the "Toronto Airport Revival," in Canada, both in the 1990s.) The consquences of such beliefs in everyday human lives are not hard to imagine.

The worst offenders in this affair, although there are scores to choose from, are Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Robert Tilton, Paul and Jan Crouch of the Trinity Broadcast Network, Jimmy Swaggart, and the king of the swindlers, Benny Hinn.  Hinn has publicly cursed any and all critics of his ministry, once lamenting that he didn't have a "Holy Ghost machine gun" to shoot them with; a woman speaking from his pulpit once made the charming suggestion that "You Christians need a Holy Ghost enema up your rear end." (My apologies; I'm quoting Benny Hinn's lovely wife .)  Do these sound like the words of Jesus, Paul, or Peter?

These people may or may not be Christians; that's up to God to decide.  But they are not preaching Christianity, and in fact are damaging its reputation with Satanic empowerment and Satanic methods.  I do not apologize for naming names; I apologize that I missed so many.  But study the following "church service," featuring both Kenneth Hagin (the older man being led around) and Kenneth Copeland (in the tan suit and orange shirt).  Does this look like the ministry of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, or does it look like madness and the activity of demons? Please remember: Hagin and Copeland, the men in this video, are two of the most respected men in this movement.  They are not the "extreme;" they are the norm.  Or, has been said of Jack Hayford, author of the song "Majesty," they are "the Pentecostal Gold Standard:"


If this is Christianity, may God deliver us from it.  And if you're bound up in it, He can, and He will! But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).

God is sometimes mysterious, but He is not "weird." Jesus Christ can deliver an unsaved man or woman from Hell ... and He can retrieve one of His children from the clutches of these monstrous frauds pretending to be his ministers.  In either case, come to Him today, as He is presented in the Bible, and don't listen to the rantings of demon-possessed liars who are out for nothing but your money ... and perhaps your soul.  Beware the "Charismatics."

Benny Hinn "ministering"

Monday, May 19, 2014

But if not ...

What do you do when God says "no?"  When He answers your fondest and most fervent prayers, but answers them negatively?  What do you do when you live from day to day and year to year in the certain expectation that God is going to do something in your life .... and then He doesn't do it?  Does it shatter your faith in Him, or cause a rift in your fellowship with Him, or perhaps cause you to abandon your belief in Him entirely?

For many people, it can do any and all of these things.  The world is full of Christians who have been disappointed: not disappointed in Jesus Himself, but disappointed because their lives didn't take the course they expected .... or the "vision" God had given them turned out to be from another source ... or because they had expected something specific from God, and God simply didn't deliver.  But that's not the reaction God wants, or expects, or deserves; and, in the Bible, we have multiple examples of people who were willing to follow God, even through the disappointment.

It's a familiar story, at least to Jews and Christians: back when a knowledge of the Bible was part of the cultural awareness of every child in the Western world, anyone you stopped on the street could have at least identified the three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who lived under the tyrant Nebuchadnezzar.  As recorded in the book of Daniel, those young men had an expectation of God's deliverance: but they also had the correct attitude, in case their expectations were not fulfilled as they hoped.

Nebuchadnezzar wanted worship - - - and these three young men weren't prepared to give it.  They worshipped Somebody else.

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. 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. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 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 musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 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. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 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? 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 musick, 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? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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. 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 (Daniel 3:2-18).

Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego

And of course you remember the rest of the account: Nebuchadnezzar, in his egomaniacal fury, had the furnace heated so hot that even the nearby attendants were immolated ... and, true to his threat, threw the young men in.  But there was a fourth Man in the furnace with them: Jesus Christ Himself.  And He did indeed deliver them, so perfectly and completely that their clothes didn't even bear the scent of smoke.  And Nebuchadnezzar, for a time, worshipped the true God as a result (Daniel 3:19-30).

It's one of the great miracles of the Old Testament, and even includes a pre-incarnation "visit" from Jesus (a "theophany," for any theologians who might have wandered into this blog by mistake).  But for me, the most significant phrase in the account is the little addendum that the young men tacked on to the end of their reply to the king: "but if not....."

What if God hadn't delivered them?  What if Jesus hadn't shown up, and the young men had been burned alive?  The answer is obvious: they would have maintained their faith in God, and died with a song of praise on their lips. 

Although Christians are persecuted and martyred all over the world, in our own day, those of us in the Western world haven't really experienced anything of that magnitude ... yet.  We have other concerns, by the grace and mercy of God.  My brother in Christ has a terminal disease; I pray for God to heal him.  A man and woman fall in love, and place their future in God's hands, and ask God to give them a life of joy and service together.  A man is convinced that God wants him to have a certain professional position, and prays to that end. A Christian woman prays that her unbelieving husband will be saved.  And every Christian parent prays that their newborn baby, or their toddler, or their teenager, will find Jesus Christ, and spend their lives in His service.  But it doesn't always happen, does it?  God always answers our prayers; but he sometimes answers them with the word "No."  And it's a tough thing to bear, and disappointments hurt.  But in praying for anything, we should always remember those three little words: "Lord, please allow my brother to be healed, or my child to be saved ... but if not, I'll still follow You, and by Your grace, I'll conform myself to Your will."  So often, we demand that God conform Himself to our will!

The thing that's so bitter, for Christians, is when we're so very sure that we're praying according to God's will, because we're praying scripturally.  The Christian husband, praying for his unsaved wife or his unsaved children, claims 2 Peter 3:9, and knows that God isn't willing for them to perish.  And yet, sometimes, as far as the human eye can discern, they never do come to Christ.  Sometimes the brother (or even the baby) dies, no matter how much prayer we put into it.  Sometimes the marriage, or the hopes for the marriage, falls apart.  That's tough and bitter and heartbreaking - - - and God knows that we're heartbroken.  The question is, do we give up, or do we continue to follow Him, regardless of the manner in which He answers our prayers?

The most perfect example of this, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  He also had His moments of "but if not" ... most notably in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt (Matthew 26:39). 

Every Christian knows, in his or her heart, that those final eight words should accompany every prayer; and, often, they do.  But when the cup doesn't pass ... what do we do? Do we allow our disappointment and heartache and fear immobilize us, or embitter us, or cause us to turn away from God?

Or do we thank God for answering our prayer, even negatively (1 Thessalonians 5:18), and continue walking in fellowship with the One Whose wisdom is past finding out, and Who always leads us away from today's disappointments, into tomorrow's promise?

We should pray about everything, big or little: James reminds us, ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).  But one of the keys to victory in the Christian life, and especially in our prayers, are those three simple little words: "but if not....."

Because "if not," if it's not God's will to answer our prayers as we wish, nothing has really changed.  He's still God, and we're still His children, if we've received Him according to John 1:12.  And if He doesn't answer today's prayer in a positive way ... there's an eternity of tomorrows awaiting us.  The idea is to focus on God, not on the need, or the desire, or the prayer; and to follow Him because of Who and What He is ... not because of what He can do for us! 

That's the faith that brings beauty from ashes, and victory from defeat.  And who knows?  Maybe the prayer will be answered in a positive way, after all!  Ask the young men climbing out of the furnace!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Right on Time

Go again seven times. - - - 1 Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah's courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but "Go again." We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel's brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire. 

- - - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hey, kids! Let's kill some Jews!

He's back!  Our old friend, Nahul the Giant Bee, has returned to Palestinian television, to instill straight and upright Islamic values in the minds of little children who might otherwise be watching such filthy Zionist propaganda as "Sesame Street" or "Dora the Explorer."  Is Nahul teaching the kids the alphabet?  No.  How to count?  Not quite.  Today's installment of "Tomorrow's Pioneers" is brought to you, not by the letter "J" or the number "11," but by those most highly cherished Mohammedan values, Hatred and Death.  Here is the most recent offering, from just three days ago:


Hooray for Nahul the Giant Bee!  This is quality inspirational and educational television, Mohammedan style!  Nahul and his friends are broadcast on Al-Aqsa TV, but the shows are produced by Hamas.  One presumes that these shows are aimed at those children whose parents have not yet fitted them out with bomb-laden vests.

New Every Morning

Have you ever wondered about some of the promises in the Bible?  Have you ever thought, in those places in your heart that no one else sees, that perhaps the promises were ... maybe exaggerated a little bit?  Or written for someone else?  Most of us have.  We don't admit it; we don't even like to admit it to ourselves.  But every Christian has moments of doubt. Moments where all we can see are the cold, hard realities of a fallen, cruel world.

For example, take this wonderful passage from the Lamentations of Jeremiah: It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Every man or woman who has ever been saved, by receiving Jesus Christ according to John 1:12, knows that God is merciful and compassionate. Even unsaved people, if they believe in God at all, usually understand this. We all acknowledge His compassion and mercy in our lives.

But there's that one phrase ... "new every morning."  Really? It doesn't always feel like that, does it?  When the alarm goes off at 5:30, and we pull ourselves out of our slumbers, are we thinking of the new mercies of the Lord, which we've received that very morning?  No, we usually think that we want to go back to sleep! But we raise ourselves up out of bed, and start planning and/or worrying about what the day will bring, at work or at school or with the family. At that moment, God's mercies don't seem "new," or extraordinary; we hardly think of them at all, at least until we've had a cup of coffee and said a prayer, or read a few verses of scripture. That's just human nature; that's our flesh. And even then, we're not really impressed by the mercies that God has already shown us, even before the alarm clock sounded off.

man waking up

The prophet Jeremiah had problems, concerns, and heartaches that put our own difficulties into perspective.  In fact, he was known as the "weeping prophet," because he had seen more human misery and horrendous catastrophe than almost anyone in or out of the Bible.  (Job's sufferings, which were unmatched by any man's, were at least limited to his own personal life.) But Jeremiah had seen his beloved nation of Israel go into total apostasy, rebelling (not for the first time) against the God Who had done so much for them, committing abominations and idolatries that Jeremiah could never have imagined.  The Book of Jeremiah records his faithful ministry to the people, warning them of God's coming judgment ... and, when they refused to listen, he saw God's judgment fall.  Jeremiah saw the invading armies, doing what invading armies usually do: raping, pillaging, murdering men, women, and children ... and, on top of that, utterly destroying the Temple of Solomon.  The Book of Lamentations is exactly that: Jeremiah's agonized reflections of what had happened to his people.

And yet, it's in the midst of some of the prophet's most mournful words, those of chapter three, that this extraordinary statement comes.  From the very first verses, Jeremiah bemoans what he has seen: I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer. He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone, he hath made my paths crooked. He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places. He hath turned aside my ways, and pulled me in pieces: he hath made me desolate. He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. I was a derision to all my people; and their song all the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, he hath made me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with gravel stones, he hath covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me (Lamentations 3:1-20). 

But then the perspective comes, and he praises the Lord:  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD (Lamentations 3:21-26).

So, leaving Jeremiah's time, where can we see God's mercies, in a new way, every morning?  If Jeremiah could see them, can we?

Do I have a roof over my head?  Millions upon millions of people in the world don't.  And with every hurricane, every earthquake, every natural disaster, people who had a home one day, did not have it the next: it was gone. When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, the roof is still there, above me, because of God's mercy in not taking it away during the night.  That mercy is new every morning.

Do I have a portion of good health?  Yes I do; by the grace of God, I have a generous portion.  But a few years ago, I woke up one morning in a state of almost total paralysis.  Because of a sudden and very rare disorder, all of the potassium had been leached out of my system, and my muscles were failing.  When my friends took me to the hospital, the doctor said that, within 24-48 hours, the next muscle to fail would have been my heart.  I recovered quickly, in a matter of days; but since then, whenever I awaken, and am able to sit up in bed, I know that it's a new mercy of the Lord.  Why a "new" mercy?  Because one day, it wasn't there. 

You see, these things that we take for granted are really not promised to us at all. They could be gone at any time, and every morning, God's mercy in not taking them away is brand new, like the sunrise. I have heard men in prison pray, "Thank You, Lord, for waking me up this morning."  Those men understood.   

Then there are the mercies that are "new" in the conventional sense, something that hasn't happened before: a friend or loved one coming to Christ.  A sick child being healed.  A sudden break from financial pressures.  A reconciliation within a family.  Those blessings may be unexpected, but they, too, are new mercies.

And, probably most miraculous of all, is God's forgiveness.  Although my daily sins break my fellowship with God, until they're confessed (1 John 1:9), the penalty for those sins was paid, once and for all, at Calvary.  When I awaken, even if I need to do business with the Lord about this or that sin, I haven't been cast into Hell in the past 24 hours, which is what I deserve.  Although I may have to reap the earthly results of some stupid sin I've committed, Jesus already took my punishment. The miracle of God's grace and mercy is new every morning.

God's mercies are new every morning to everyone - - - not just believers in Jesus Christ.   The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works (Psalm 145:9).  The rain falls on the just, and the unjust.  But those who have not received Christ, but have rejected Him, need to enjoy His mercies while they're here on earth: because that's all the mercy they're ever going to see. One day, His mercy toward them will end, and they will be in Hell.

Praise God for His longsuffering, and patience, and for his mercies, which are truly "new every morning" - - - whether we realize it or not!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Letter from a Communist

You're a Christian.  You've been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and you're a member of a good local church. By comparison with many people in your society, you're a pretty "good person."  And you claim to be, not just a believer, but a follower of Jesus Christ. But I have one question for you: would the Communists have you?

When I say "Communists," I mean real Communists, Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries. Not like Obama or his teachers: they're no more "Communists" than Mickey Mouse or Miley Cyrus.  We use the words "Communist" and "fascist" much too freely these days, without knowing what the genuine article is like.  But this is May 1st, the official Marxist "International Workers' Day," and although you might not encounter too many genuine Marxists on the streets of your town, they haven't died off.  Here's a picture taken on this date in London, one year ago:

Years ago, Marxist Communism was the most powerful and popular ideological movement in the world.  From the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 to the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991, Communism was an intellectual and religious movement that captured the imagination of people from Hollywood to the jungles of Africa and South America ... and, briefly, the United States.  And the anonymous, faceless Communists themselves, the "grassroots" Communists, had some very valuable examples from which we could profit.

In the 1950s or 1960s, a young man was jailed for his Communist activities.  As he was preparing for parole, he wrote a letter to his longtime fiancée, breaking their engagement.  Read what he said, and compare it to your own committment to the cause of Jesus Christ:

"We Communists have a high casualty rate. We are the ones who get shot and hung and ridiculed and fired from our jobs and in every other way made as uncomfortable as possible. A certain percentage of us get killed or imprisoned. We live in virtual poverty. We turn back to the Party every penny we make above what is absolutely necessary to keep us alive. We Communists do not have the time or the money for many movies or concerts or T-bone steaks or decent homes or new cars. We’ve been described as fanatics. We are fanatics. Our lives are dominated by one great, overshadowing factor: the struggle for world Communism. We have a philosophy of life which no amount of money could buy. We have a cause to fight for, a definite purpose in life. We subordinate our petty personal selves into a great movement of humanity; and if our personal lives seem hard or our egos appear to suffer through subordination to the party, then we are adequately compensated by the thought that each of us, in his small way, is contributing to something new and true and better for mankind. There is one thing in which I am in dead earnest about, and that is the Communist cause. It is my life, my business, my religion, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife, my mistress, my bread and meat. I work at it in the daytime and dream of it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens, as time goes on; therefore, I cannot carry on a friendship, a love affair, or even a conversation without relating it to this force which both drives and guides my life. I evaluate people, looks, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the Communist cause, and by their attitude toward it. I’ve already been in jail because of my ideals, and if necessary, I’m ready to go before a firing squad."

Is that a fair description of the way you live your life as a Christian? 

No offense.  Just asking.  The people in the above picture look pretty committed, carrying that banner and those red flags; but I wonder how the average American Christian looks, when he or she is not actually in church?

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe the Christian church is full of people who, from dawn to midnight, work just as hard for Jesus Christ as this young Communist, who left the woman he loved in order to devote more energy to his pitiful, demonic "cause."  I'm certainly not trying to make my brothers and sisters feel guilty, and I'm preaching at myself, too.

No, this little post won't make much of an impression. But certain words come to mind....

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Mtt. 22:37-38).

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Mtt. 6:33).

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).

Is that what we're doing?  Or are we just sitting around with the remote control in our hand?