Sunday, August 9, 2015

Understanding The Agenda, The Hope That Does Not Disappoint


Understanding the Enemy’s Agenda - Freedom Outpost

The survey conducted by Fox News July 13-15 this year asked Christians if they believed that Christians were under attack in America today. 81% of Evangelical Christians say Christianity is under attack in America, and when surveying voters as a whole, 51% say Christianity is under attack in these United States. This survey was done just two weeks after the Supreme's immoral opinion was issued. Now the interesting aspect for me is the element of surprise that this holds for the majority of Christians.
We have become accustomed by nearly four hundred years of no persecution in our land, that, when it arises, we think something strange is happening. Turn to 1 Peter 4:12-13: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." So we should not be surprised, nor should we think it to be strange, as though we are experiencing something abnormal.

Persecution of Christians in the two-thousand-year history of the church is far more the norm than the anomaly we have seen in this land during the last 400 years. And that is so because we are at war. There is a spiritual battle in the universe that has been fought from the beginning of time. As we saw last week in Genesis 3:15, it is characterized as enmity between the seed of the woman (Christ Jesus) and the seed of the Serpent (those whom Jesus identified as children of their "father the devil" in John 8:44). So the fact that we are engaged in this spiritual war that is raging in every corner of the earth should not surprise us at all. Rather, it should steel our resolve, it should cause us to focus on preparing our hearts, minds, and hands for that battle. God's Word stands ready to equip us for the battle.

This morning, I would like to examine the agenda of our enemy as revealed in the pages of God's Word, to help equip us for the conflict we are each engaged in every day. Turn to Genesis 10, where we find the events that followed the worldwide flood; the wickedness of man began to flourish again. And we have revealed to us in these passages the enemy's repeated strategy of battle against the saints of the Most High God. We will be enabled to better fight the good fight of faith when we understand his infernal agenda.
The First Tyrant - Genesis 10:8-12 "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city."
What we see in Nimrod is the centralization of power in the hands of one man. Nimrod was the first to do this. Small, self-governing, walled cities in a decentralized structure—that's how the world was after the flood. Nimrod was the first of many of the "mighty men" to come in the history of the world. He was the first dictator in the world.
He alone ruled as the dictator in a top-down system of civil government over multiple city-states. This was not God's design.
There is no elaborate system of civil government structured here, no great bureaucratic model ordained to accomplish this essential, God-given function. It was a highly decentralized and localized civil government that God ordained. Nimrod demonstrates one of Satan's repeated strategies: centralization of power in the hands of the one or of the elite in a society. Nimrod began with establishing Babel and then three other cities in Shinar. But, not at all content with that accomplishment, he militarily invaded to the Northwest in the land of Assyria, establishing another five cities there, which were under his dictatorial rulership.

Nimrod came in and conquered. He controlled the political structure of new cities. This is how dictators down through history have conquered other peoples. They win a war against a people but don't completely obliterate the native populace. Rather they enslave the populace through taxation enforced by the military, a standing army, they place among the people.
Does this sound familiar?

Listening to the lies of the politicians as presented by the prattle of the biased, it is easy to lose hope in a secular sense.  My hope in an eternal sense is founded on the rock of an unshakable faith in Jesus, and so it cannot be shaken.  However, in the secular resting, as it must upon the shifting sands of man in America today, hope as a measured commodity is all too often hopeless.  Seeking for hope in current events, a diamond among the discards and a point of light in a sea of darkness, is seeking something positive among the gathering gloom of an empire in eclipse.
I don't know about you, but I cannot focus on the negative trends of our current situation for long without at least contemplating depression and I don't mean the economic kind.  I am thankful I have a peace that passes all understanding and a hope that cannot be taken away, and I am also glad that I have a sense of History which gives me a context to frame the Now.  For if all we have is the Now it can always be changed with the next headline, the next news bulletin, or the next press release.  Having a historical context brings things into focus fitting the events of today into flow of time from yesterday to tomorrow.
Truth often becomes the victim of expediency.  For what seems true at the moment may end up as the lie of the hour.  Politicians bend truth like gravity bends light: the heavier the perceived need, the greater the unperceived distortion.  Lies can become so widely believed that truth is swallowed in truism. Lies become the accepted wisdom of professional pundits chattering endlessly, supporting that which ultimately must fall for those who seek to surf a tsunami into a safe harbor.  The news is filled with half-truths and, as my second favorite philosopher, Anonymous, once said, "Beware of half-truths, you may have gotten the wrong half."
We live in a twilight time.  Twilight, by definition is a time when two sources of light pierce the gloom. It is that quivering moment when both the sun and the moon hold back the darkness.  The darkness of confusion is dispelled by the brightness of the sun of truth, but it is disputed by refracted light of the moon of opinion masquerading as truth.
What we need is the hope that does not disappoint and that is found in adversity and tried in the furnace of persecution. This is not the first time good people have been subjected to the rule of those dedicated to plunder and dominance. It is an old story that has repeated itself ad infinitum throughout time. Hope lies in the fact that we will never be tested beyond what we can endure and that, with each test, there is a way of escape. This is so true and so common that it has been written in our hearts, and, if we allow, it blazes in our spirit. That, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom, also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now, hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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