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An Attitude Adjustment

In America, insulated from the harsh consequences of reality, we know nothing about the persecution and pains most Christians face on a daily basis. Those troubles don’t matter and belong to some far away land. Christians here could never be called upon to suffer for their faith in such a way.

But we are tormented in our own fashion. For instance, I spent almost fifty dollars filling up my 2008 Ford Fusion last week. What’s more I couldn’t believe that I only managed to get 27 miles per gallon off my last tank. It gets worse. All around the nation, beleaguered Christians are feeling the credit crunch and can’t qualify for those $500,000 home loans they so desire. Oh, and imagine how many Christians’ investment portfolios have been devastated by the current financial crisis. Think of all the money they’ve lost! How else can they possibly pay for that new boat they just financed?

Only with paralyzing grief and heartbreak will the believers in this nation continue on. Truly, the days ahead are overcast with doubt and uncertainty, as the plight of suffering American Christians will only intensify.

All right. It’s time for an attitude adjustment and a little perspective. Below are some images from the Christian persecution in Orissa Province, India.

 

The next time you complain about the cost of gas, just be thankful it wasn’t used to set your vehicle aflame.

 

The next time you cringe at your mortgage bill, praise God for allowing you to pay one in the first place.

 

And finally, the next time another driver makes a rude gesture because of the fish sign on your car’s trunk, give thanks to our God they’re not doing something much worse.

HT: Persecution Update India

Additional photos can be found here.

As American Christians, we need to be more thankful and less ungrateful. Our worries are nothing compared to what troubles most other Christians around the world. Please endeavor to keep them in your prayers.

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18-21, ESV)

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The Perils of Wealth

Since America’s inception, the people living in this country have pursued the betterment of themselves through the acquisition of wealth and riches. Taking full advantage of the freedoms we are graciously given, no barriers exist in this pursuit. The American Dream, as it is called, is today realized by many in the form of large houses, expensive cars, and diversified stock portfolios. Money, it is said, brings about a carefree life where troubles are no where to be found.

The Bible, however, tells us something different. An easy life – one blessed with riches, wealth, and prosperity – is actually fraught with many perils. Unforeseen, these hidden dangers spring upon the naive from within dark corners and never withhold mercy.

The first of these traps is that of the insidious lusts that are brought into fruition. Paul gives a stern warning to the rich in 1 Timothy 6:9-10: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (NASB). These lusts are typically manifested in a variety of forms – everything from sexual immorality to an all-consuming greed for more possessions, which is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5). In this sense, it is easy to see why the love of money is the source from which many other kinds of evil spring. Because of this fact, those who have fallen into the snare of greed have only heaped sorrow upon themselves.

According to Jesus, an even more dangerous trap takes hold of those who are controlled by their greed. He says entry into the kingdom of God is impossible. The story is given to us in Luke 18:18-25:

A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'”

And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (NASB)

Contrary to what some would argue, Jesus was not advocating a life of poverty for those who follow Him. Instead, He was calling this young man out on his secret sin: covetousness. He was being called to repent of his greed. Instead of choosing to turn from his sin, he decided to follow his own desires. So in love with his riches, he could not give them up even for the sake of his own life. The more prosperity one has, the more difficultly there is in giving up that temporal blessing when Jesus calls for it. Such is the fate of the wealthy in this world.

The graveyard of greed holds many tombs, all of which were built by those who now occupy them. Make sure you are not constructing one for yourself!