PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• A couple of days ago, I wrote about the California law on the table that would ban Christian pastors and counselors can say or what books they can share.
This week, I’ve seen example after example of how the Christian faith has a big ‘ole bullseye target on it.
The latest was a prom picture of students praying together before their meal and the backlash and criticism they received from those “courageous” souls who camp out from the safety of their keyboard and pound out hateful assumptions and attack values and people of whom they know nothing about.
Here’s the deal.
This country is all about celebrating individuality.
Don’t let anyone tell you to do differently!
Your uniqueness makes you special!
Let’s applaud you for having the courage to be you!
You relate more to chickens?
We’re not going to judge you because your feelings are valid and important.
Because that same message is completely void and nullified if an individual stands up and says, “I am a Christian.”
Then, it’s, “You’re a racist! You’re a bigot! You’re homophobic! We hate the way you shove your beliefs down everyone’s throats!”
Look at what’s-her-face from The View who said Mike Pence had mental problems because he believes in Jesus.
Even Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby—probably the two biggest companies founded and operating on Christian principles—can’t do an act of kindness for someone without criticism.
The list goes on and on.
I admit I’m not much for confrontation.
I prefer to stay in the background.
But this is crazy, y’all!
And I know I’m repeating myself to a degree, but God’s put this on my heart in a big way.
The fact is—it takes courage to be a child of God.
And we’re not the only generation to struggle with it.
From the very beginnings of the church, Christians have had a target.
In Acts 4, Peter and John were arrested for preaching the Gospel, and in Acts 7, Stephen became the first martyr for the Christian faith.
So the situations we face today as Christians aren’t new.
Those who oppose God are naturally going to oppose us and what we stand for.
It’s disheartening and discouraging… if we allow our thoughts to be consumed by them.
But instead, let’s focus on three things.
First, let’s pray for boldness.
That’s exactly what the early Christians did when Peter and John were released from prison.
In Acts 4:29 NLT, they prayed, “And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.”
So pray for courage because the second thing is to remember Psalm 118:6, which says, “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
So what if others call us names?
Call me a Jesus-freak.
I welcome it because I am.
I love Jesus and I wasted too many years of my life living my way.
I’m committed to His way.
And the third point this morning is this truth from Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Y’all—we are in good company.
We are fighting a fight that has been going on for centuries.
We are standing up to proclaim our belief and faith in the Risen Savior and by doing so, we stand up with faithful powerhouses like Moses, David, Peter, John, Paul, and countless others.
Not to mention Jesus Himself.
Jesus was also criticized and mocked.
Look what they did to Him.
But look what He did for us.
It’s worth repeating.
It takes courage to be a child of God.
We know this isn’t a picnic.
Even Jesus said we’d have troubles (John 16:33).
But the eternal rewards outweigh earthly frustrations.
What we need to do today as we pray, is 1) pray for boldness as they prayed for in Acts and 2) pray for those who attack our faith.
Jesus told us in Matthew 5:44, “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
My knee-jerk response to all of this is anger.
But God is working on me because I also feel a great deal of pity and compassion for these people.
I can’t help but wonder about the anger and bitterness that comes out against those who love Jesus.
And I am scared for the future they face.
So yet again… Jesus is right.
Let’s pray for them.
And today, as you pray, pray for revival.
We need revival in a powerful way.