When the lights are turned off, doors close and garbage piles up, what do we tend to do? Sit in the dark? Talk to ourselves, pray, or turn over and go to sleep? Maybe we walk away. To be honest, sometimes we do all of the above.
Today, I’m turning the lights back on, opening the doors and windows, cleaning out the garbage, and sweeping down the cobwebs. When I hit PUBLISH in the top right hand corner of my screen, I will be welcoming light and fresh air, a bright future and new hope back into this blog.
I’m going to talk about Ravi Zacharias, probably the most respected Christian apologist of my day. I listened to him on the radio at first and then, when I got my first smart phone, I began listening to him in YouTube all. the. time! By far, I’ve listened to him more than any other speaker in my lifetime.
About six months ago I heard there were some serious rumors in social media being thrown around about Ravi Zacharias, saying that some of Ravi’s employees had come forward with disturbing allegations. After turning them over in my mind a few days, I decided to dismiss them until I heard them from a reliable source, which did not happen for nearly half a year. Finally, about a month ago the board of directors at RZIM (Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) issued a statement confirming the allegations. Within days there was a flux of information and commentaries concerning this bombshell information. Stunned, is too small a word for what the Christian community felt with the news. We were unilaterally heartbroken, and doubly grieved, first, for Ravi’s family and ministry team, and, also, for the sake of the Gospel which he had so brilliantly argued for. I’m convinced that the more prominent a person is in the Kingdom the more viciously the enemy attacks him. My father would have agreed with that. He was an evangelist and pastor and said that that he often went through a week of deep discouragement and doubt following a week or weekend of meetings. To combat that period of intense temptations Daddy would start preparing for it several weeks ahead of time by fasting and praying one day for each sermon that he would preach during his time away. In my mind, Daddy was going into the weeks of revival meetings facing the enemy, not letting the enemy surprise him from behind.
Several days ago I received an email from Persecution Watch, which is an advocacy group for the persecuted church. It contained a copy of a letter written by the late Blaine Scogin, their founder and Prayer Director, and he addressed this issue, although not about Zacharias. With their permission I have pasted an edited (my edits) excerpt of it below. It really says what I think is a good, wise, word for the moment. You may find the whole letter here at the Voice Of The Persecuted blog.
Satan loves to put the spotlight on those Christians who have turned away from Jesus. Particularly if they are a well-known pastor or worship leader. It is disheartening to read such reports of church leaders who have renounced Christ for various reasons.
But we must be reminded that for every well-known church leader who takes to social media and declares that he is rejecting Christ, there are countless thousands who are paying a heavy price for their faith in Jesus. We call them the persecuted church. They are not well-known except in the eyes of God.
In nations like North Korea, Eritrea, China, and other hostile nations… there are those who are standing firm for Jesus and the idea of denying him is unthinkable.
It is estimated that every 6 minutes someone is martyred for their faith in Christ. By the end of this day over three to four hundred will have laid their souls out on the altar of Jesus. These are the ones who… have not renounced Christ. In doing so, they have defeated Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and not loving their lives even unto death. These are the ones who have been faithful until death. These are our persecuted brothers and sisters. [Think about that for a moment – our brothers and sisters.]
I have no doubt that we will hear of more church leaders in America who will deny Christ for one reason or another. This will be disheartening but let us remember that for every well-known church leader who will stand up and deny Christ, much to the glee of the enemy…. there will be those three or four hundred who will lay down their lives for Jesus daily.”
End of quote.
I really appreciate Bro. Scogin’s words. He brings the blurry picture back into focus. The Kingdom of God is strong and is a Kingdom of Overcomers! That is the reality of 2021.
We have our work cut out for us, brothers and sisters.
1. Be a Bible student. The knowledge of God’s Word is the key to spiritual victory.
2. Be a pray – er. Communication is key to any relationship, but most of all, in the God to human relationship.
3. Pray for the persecuted church and for their persecutors. Also, pray for the advocacy groups who are supporting them.
4. Pray for prominent church leaders, YouTube channels, bloggers, podcasters, and all those in well known Ministries. (My husband and I have been praying for the cast and directors of the TV series, The Chosen . That program is excellent, and bringing the Gospel message to millions who have otherwise not paid attention to Jesus. It is really gaining in popularity, which is great, but the responsibility to bring the message in such a prominent way, untarnished by sin or incorrect messages is huge. It is so important that they don’t fail, particularly the main characters, so let’s commit to praying for them.
We have our window of opportunity today. Let’s take it.
Effective prayers are heard and answered; so how is that accomplished? Jesus told us how:
“Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” St. John 14:13,14
It’s super simple. I need to read The Word to learn how to pray in the Father’s will. If I’m not familiar with it my prayers come from my own will, tend to take selfish twists and lead to frustration. I’ve learned this the hard way.
Super Simple Life Hack: read God’s Word so you will know how to pray.
I’m learning in a rather sorry way to STOP saying sorry!
Instead of saying I’m sorry so much, the Scriptures are giving me a new focus.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” Colossians 3:23 KJV
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV
Of course there are times to say, “I’m sorry,” but often I’m saying I’m sorry for reasons that diminish myself in order to gain others approval, or to relieve myself of any liability if things go wrong. Or – for reasons I don’t even know. Maybe making myself smaller makes me feel larger, in a strange twist of emotions. Whatever the reason for making unnecessary apologies, they are largely self-centered attempts to be perfect.
So instead of saying I’m sorry so much I’m trying to say thank you, instead.
“Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for being my friend and listening.”
“Thank you for understanding.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you…..
I do believe saying thank you redirects the focus from me to focusing on others, and in doing that, I can glorify God better.
1. Everybody in our family decides what to bring for Thanksgiving Dinner. That takes all of 10 minutes via our little FB Messenger group. I’ll bring this, you bring that. Dad always makes the cornbread dressing and Jeff always makes the sweet tea. Of course, Phyll makes the pie and mashed potatoes while Short makes the bread. Planning doesn’t take long.
I’ll bake a ham and Short will bake a turkey breast. Marin will bring a cranberry dish. Whatever she makes is always good and always elegant so I’m looking forward to that. I went right out and bought a gallon of hamburger dill chips to make what we call Christmas Pickles. The children LOVE pickles and olives; green olives with pimentos in the centers. They suck out the pimentos before popping the olives in their mouths.
1 gallon hamburger dill chips
4 pound bag granulated sugar
Drain the pickles. You can keep the juice to make pickles eggs with, or discard it if you don’t want it.
Layer the pickles back into the gallon jar with the sugar. Put the lid on the jar and let it set until the sugar dissolves. I usually turn the jar upside down a few times to soak all the sugar up. It will make its own juice again.
Then begins the official THOU SHALT KEEP THEY HAND OUT OF THE PICKLE JAR season.
Some people add red pepper flakes to make what is called Fire and Ice Pickles. At Christmas time I add maraschino cherries just before serving.