Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States of America. Now more than ever we need to beg and plead for our country. Even more than praying for our country we need to pray for the hearts and minds of men, women, and children who have turned away from the one true God. Maybe in words they have not, but their actions and new found beliefs show their true spiritual state. We shouldn’t be surprised that people are turning away from the One True God and seeking out their own desires rather than God’s. 2 Timothy 3 gives us a clear description of what people will be like in the end times.
2 Timothy 3 1-5 “1But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!”
There are many people that I know and love that have left the faith for Modernity. It breaks my heart that they abandon their creator and throw his marvelous work of redemption aside and turn to vain religion. They pick what they want to believe in scripture when all of Scripture is God-breathed. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”)
Why is it that culture seems to have more authority over people these days than Scripture. I do not want to get into a battle but I will say this. If scripture calls something sin….it is sin. Culture does not decide God’s mandates. God’s Word never changes. Sin is sin. Oh that we could have more men like Polycarp.
If you are unfamiliar with his name let me tell you a bit about this great man of God that lived approximately between 70 -150 AD. Polycarp is said to have been discipled by the Apostle John before his death. Now we cannot say that for sure but there is historical evidence that suggests this. Polycarp came to know Christ at an early age however it wasn’t until age 86 that he faced being martyred for his belief in Christ. Polycarp heard the news that the Romans knew his whereabouts and were coming to get him. Although his friends abandoned him, he knew he was to take a stand for Jesus Christ. As he spent two hours in prayer before his capture he knew that he would be burned at the stake but was determined to not forsake the name of Jesus.
Upon being taken captive he was taken to a proconsul where Statius Quadratus interrogated him. He was told if he renounced his faith and said that Caesar is Lord that his life would be spared and he would be freed. They taunted him and they tried to scare him with talks about being thrown to wild beasts which was not yet common practice in Rome. All they were asking for was for him to say Jesus isn’t Lord. Some of us would have simply been tempted to say it to get out of there, but not Polycarp! They finally said they would burn him at the stake if he didn’t recant . Polycarp told Quadratus that while the proconsul’s fire lasts but a little while, the fires of judgment (“reserved for the ungodly,” ) cannot be quenched. These were his exact words. “Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”
At that the Roman soldiers went to nail him to the stake and Polycarp responded again “Leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved, without the security you desire from nails.” He prayed aloud, the fire was lit, and he remained there undaunted. God was glorified and we have his example. His death gave Christians for ages to come the example of an unwavering faith & trust to endure anything that could come against them.
Now here we are in May 2013. Our culture now tells us that we need to remain silent. It has become common place for hundreds of thousands of babies to be murdered each year. The family unit for the first time is battling to remain the norm. Culture has overtaken our churches our schools and our lives. We are in this world but we are not of it. Many of our own have recanted although they will not admit it and many others have turned away willfully and tragically.
My prayer this National Day of Prayer is not only for our country, which we should never give up on but my prayer is for the Christians that are toeing the line. It is time to live what we know is right. It is time to stand strong and say we will not recant. We will not say that murder, homo-sexuality, liberalism (not just in gov’t), and other sins should be the norm. We can not be satisfied to just say “these are the signs of the times.” We know that is true but we must be vigilant and we must stand our ground now more than other. Not because we hate those who do not belong to Christ, but because we are so freaking passionate about them not going to hell and spending an eternity separated from God.
We pray every night with our kids for our friends and neighbors not because we disagree with them or dislike them. No, it is LOVE for them that fills our passion. That is the difference between other religions. I am not against Muslims, atheists Jehovah witnesses, or any other religion or line of thinking. I am for each person coming to know Christ. I am for each of them because God loves them and sent His only Son to die and pay their penalty for sin. Sin separates us from God but Jesus bridges the great divide. God doesn’t want any to perish! (2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
So let us pray for repentance! Let us pray for Christians to stand strong! Let us pray for an unwavering faith fueled by God’s love for us and for others!