Awaiting The Storm


Today is February 12, 2019 and a snow storm is barreling down on us from the south west. It is expected to hit our area about 11am with up to 18 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain. To be honest, most everyone is pretty fed up with this kind of weather. We are all itching for that first warm blast of Spring to sweep over the area. But instead, we are awaiting the storm.

In years gone by, February has been a month when sap buckets were hung, my favorite trout streams began their early melt and I started my garden indoors. Numerous seed trays went in my south facing windows, and I drew up plans for how to set up my garden. Best of all, my motorcycle could be taken out for a few early runs on nice days. This year, however, it’s been very different. We have had one snow storm, and freezing rain storm, after another. Local schools have used up their allotment of snow days, and snowplow drivers are not only piling up snow, but also piling up overtime hours, and cash in their bank accounts.

The truth is, the storm itself is not such a big deal. This is the Northeast, and we all know that snow storms in winter is just part of life. However, waiting for it’s arrival is what causes all the problem. People begin to panic as the weather reports pour in, and speculation of how bad it “could be” fills the air. The possibility of what might happen, as reported by over-eager meteorologists, sets the stage. It drives people to buy extra supplies, up grade their snow blowers, buy extra gas, and even purchase expensive generators they don’t need, just in case. Then the snow comes and it is not nearly as bad a predicted. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief as another “snowmagedon” has been avoided, and life returns to normal.

The point in all of this is quite simple. Anticipation of an approaching storm, and the fear of what “might” happen, that it evokes within us, is usually worse than the actual storm itself. Beyond that, how we react to what “might be”, is a storm all it’s own. When our anxious thoughts of something control us emotionally ahead of time, we bring a storm upon ourselves, long before the real storm actually gets there. This means we take a double hit, and the enemy of our soul just loves it. We are actually helping him with the torment of our own life! This is because the first storm is imaginary, it’s a mind storm. We create and live through that one, all by ourselves. The second storm is the real deal, and we all face that one, and go through it to the end, one step at a time.

Every mind storm holds us prisoner. We end up living in the grip of imagined possibilities that have no real substance. Every real storm holds our attention. We do what must be done to get through it successfully. The mind storm is in our emotions and thoughts, and it serves to paralyze and torment us. The real storm is fact, and it always serves to mobilize us to action. The mind storm is a trap that emotionally exhausts us, makes us weak, and robs us of our peace. The real storm is truth to be faced head on, and if we do, it makes us better and stronger.

Ask yourself a question right now. “Why do you spend so much time, and emotional energy, on mind storms, when each one is of your own making?” If you will honestly answer that question, you are on your way to being liberated to a brand new way of living. This is a life where fear and worry give way to the joy of living every day to the fullest. It’s a life that looks forward to all the adventures yet to come. In this life, a spirit of doubt and worry gives way to a pioneering spirit. It looks into the future with great anticipation, for what might be, and has immense satisfaction for what has already been!

What kind of life do you want to live? Are you happy with the one you have? If you need to change, now is the time to do it! Years ago I decided to live on truth’s raw edge, and let go of everything of my imagined future that had the power to hold me captive. Present reality became my truth, and I refused to be weighed down by the emotional baggage of what “might be”. I walked in renewed faith, out of the prison cell of what could happen, in order to grab hold of the freedom of what was happening. That simple act of personal and emotional realignment, was a moment of total liberation. It changed my world. I became the man I always knew I was meant to be, and my life was never the same.

Let me encourage you today to await the storm that is coming, and be in anticipation of it’s benefit in your life, not in fear of what damage it might bring. Get hold of your emotions and refuse to let something that is not even here, rule your life. Remember, all the victories you have gotten in the past ARE your reality. Let these be the truth you grab hold of for what is still on the way. The victories AND the failures have prepared you for every battle yet to come. By celebrating both, you will discover how to overcome. Relax, and be a pioneer rather than a prisoner. Learn to wait for, and face your storms when they finally arrive. Don’t worry even for a moment, before hand. You will be surprised at how quickly you can embrace the truth of your storm, and how much you will grow in the process. This, my friends, is life the way it was intended to be, and it is glorious!

A Life Unbroken


Some time ago I read an article about a man who began to interview survivors of the Nazi’s attempt to wipe out the Jewish people during WWII. These Holocaust survivors were living in various conditions, physically, emotionally and financially. Some were bitter and angry because they had lost relatives, homes, fortunes, land and for some, even their family history had been wiped away. They were broken people, living in a state of shock, and basically waiting to die. Others were less impacted by the atrocities, but were still the walking wounded. Memories of what they had suffered prevented them from living life to it’s full potential. They were broken so badly, it seemed impossible for them to ever find peace and satisfaction on this earth.

To his utter surprise, there was one group of Jews who had gone through the same Holocaust, but they were very different. They had also been beaten, experimented on, starved, brutalized and left for dead. Yet, these people did not refer to themselves as survivors. They did not have the residual depression, sorrow and melancholy that overwhelmed the others. Some were wealthy, some were not, but all of them were happy, and were enjoying a full, rich life. They had built wonderful family histories for themselves, and were sound in mind, emotions and body. This was an unexpected find, and the interviewer spent months tracking down many of these people. He asked them questions to uncover why they were so different, and what he discovered was quite significant. In fact, he found the key that allowed those people to live a life unbroken.

All of those interviewed were living a radiant, unbroken life and they had two things in common. The first thing was they had all learned the power of forgiveness. No matter how brutally they had been abused at the hands of German prison guards, they knew God wanted them to forgive all the evil that had been done to them. One man put it this way, “God showed me that refusing to forgive the evil done to me was like drinking poison and expecting my abusers to die. I realized that bitter unforgiveness never releases anyone. It holds people prisoner to a past they can not change. When I forgave the Nazi’s, they lost their power over me, and I set myself free”.

The second thing this group had in common was totally unexpected, but it was filled with insight. Like all the other death camp prisoners, they knew they were going to be murdered. They also knew there would first be abuse, torture and hated towards them for no apparent reason other than their beliefs. These people understood the Nazi’s had control over every aspect of their existence, but two. One man said this in his interview, “No matter what happened to me, I knew there were two things the Nazi’s could never control. They could not control my belief and they could not control how I responded to their torture.

I knew these two things drove my prison guards crazy. I decided from the beginning they would never, ever be able to control what I believed and how I chose to respond to what they did to me. When I still practiced my faith and I smiled and refused to cringe in fear, or beg for my life, something broke inside those guards. They hated me all the more, but it didn’t matter. My faith and my response put me in charge of my own fate, and there was nothing they could do about it. That gave me the strength, satisfaction and power to live as I chose, until my life was finally ended. I could not choose how I died, but I could choose how I lived. That reality caused the whole German army to do crazy things, and in essence it put us Jews in charge of them”.

The life of Dr Mike Evans, who founded the Jerusalem Prayer Team, echoes the sentiments above. He has lived a life of divine favor, even though the days of his youth were filled with deadly brutality. He overcame the physical and emotional trauma his father inflicted on him, and went on to meet with more heads of state, presidents and world leaders, than any other person alive today. His has a proven ministry as a respected prophet, to many world leaders. Mike has a teaching on living in the favor of God that confirms the above in so many ways. He has experienced God’s amazing favor first hand, and knows it can be unleashed to transform every believer who lives in the four principles of God’s Kingdom DNA. These are; radical humility, radical generosity, radical obedience and radical forgiveness.

This is the DNA of our Creator, and when we unlock it, God Himself is drawn to us, and gives us unlimited favor. As we prepare to launch into a new phase in life, let us also plan to unleash the favor of God on all our dreams, words, thoughts, travels and actions. We can come to a place of such radical surrender to Christ that our humility, generosity, obedience and forgiveness become the sweet incense of living worship to our Father in Heaven. Through these we can release the potential God placed within us, and never again be held captive by the actions, mistakes, hardness of heart and unkind words of those this world sends our way.

Today is the day you can set your heart to activate the DNA of God that is already within you. Ask God to unlock His spiritual blueprint for your life, and you will see the Kingdom unfolding in grand splendor every place you go. As you walk in the Spirit, you will quickly find yourself on an intercept course with the plans, power and majesty of God, in ways you never dreamed possible. Could it be that this is the set time for you to become an ambassador for His Kingdom? If you are willing to change, and purpose in your heart to do things His way, you also can also live a life that is unbroken. Best of all, as you walk in that favor, you will begin to help others live that way as well. Discover the potential of your spiritual DNA and your life will be filled with passion and purpose. This, my friends, is the power of God to live a life unbroken.

The Unbalanced Life

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The older I get the more I realize how unbalanced parts of my life have been. What I mean is, from the time I was a small boy, I have never done anything in a half-hearted way. No matter what, I have either been all in, or not in at all. In some seasons of life this has served me well, and at other times it has caused me to jump into catastrophic situations that could have been avoided. Fortunately, the gains have out weighed the losses, but it has not always been a pleasant ride for me or those who go with me. Living an unbalanced life is not the best way to go.

One example that comes to mind was the time I had done research on the stock market and decided to take $5,000 from my teacher’s retirement and invest it on a “call” of December crude oil. I knew the market was going to go up in the cold weather so this was a sure thing in my mind. The stock broker I used over the phone, Ginny, was happy to place my order. The next day she called me to say my $5,000 was now $7,850 as I had made a gain of $3,100 over night, minus her $250 commission. Without thinking, I told her to reinvest it, and began making plans for what I would do with all the money I was about to make.

I was giddy with excitement, and even thought about taking an early retirement. I had it all figured out. I would simply sit at my computer, watch my assets grow, and be a day trader on the market. This was the easiest money I had ever made, and I wondered why so many people I knew were not doing it. Naturally my next step was to jump into penny stocks, so I began to research them. I picked a few that seem promising, based on what I knew of the economy, and by using the Scott Trade platform, I built a small portfolio of stocks with about $50 invested. To my great joy, within a few weeks my $50 was turned into over $500.

I am sure you have already figured out that my unbalanced, ignorant enthusiasm soon went into in a radical nose dive. I became obsessed with market conditions, and had to check my stocks all day long. I could hardly keep my mind on teaching, could not sleep, and reading my Bible was almost impossible. Oh, I prayed alright! “Lord, what stock should I pick now?” “Lord, give me the stock symbol for the next big jumper”. I even prayed with Ginny over the phone, so God would give her the wisdom to know what commodity to pick next. Yes, I was a full-blown Christian nut case, dragging God with me, and wanting Him to bless something He had never called me to do.

What was the outcome? My spiritual life went down the toilet, and so did my finances. Down, down, down went the market, and with it my money was gone as well. Ginny and Scott Trade all made their commissions, and I finally pulled out when I had $500 left in my account. When the check came in the mail, I heard the Lord say, “And there is My tithe on the $5000 you pulled from your retirement”. That Sunday I put the Lords tithe in the offering, apologized for wasting what He had trusted me to hold, and fought to move past the urge to give it one more try. What is in my account since that time? I own 40 shares of penny stock worth a grand total of 8 cents! A grim reminder of what can happen when we have an unbalanced approach and go into something God has not intended for our life.

What about you? Where are the places that may be a bit unbalanced in your life? You know what I am talking about. They are the things that rule your decision making, because they always happen. It might be emotionalism that over rules your common sense. It could be work, or time management, relationships or selfish ambition. It might be refusing to serve where you know there is a need, or serving in a place of need, but doing it with a bad attitude. Perhaps it is the endless desire to be recognized, or the need to always be right. Whatever is out of balance in your life, whatever rules your emotions and brings your actions to a place of excess, that thing must be surrendered to God.

The point is, balanced people are healthy because they have learned how to live life with enthusiasm and passion, but they are not blinded to the consequences of the uncontrolled areas still present in them. They have counted the cost of personal decisions, and never sugar-coat the mistakes they have made. These are people who consider honesty an absolute necessity, and they stay focused on what is most important, no matter what distraction or criticism may come. Their life is influenced by what is biblically right and true, rather than the misguided, emotional responses of others. People in this place are on their way to a very fruitful, peace-filled, and godly life.

So the question is, what kind of person are you? What kind of atmosphere do you create when you interact with those around you? Do you unlock divine possibilities, peace and anticipation for the goodness of God? Or, do you unleash apprehension and concern because you bring some answers, but people are always left wondering what kind of mess you will also bring with you? The one living a balanced life deposits nothing but blessing, and the rich presence of God. The unbalanced life deposits a mixed bag of uncertainty, and answers that must be pick out of the confused, emotional rubble that has been left behind.

Evaluate your life on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 means there’s a major problem because people are unsure what you will leave behind. 10 means your are perfectly balance and others know when you come you always leave a blessing. Evaluate each of the following:

1. healthy personal relationships ________

2. good time management ________

3. emotional stability in every situation ________

4. godly character under stress or rejection ________

5. clear spiritual insight of Scripture ________

6. walk in humility when I am falsely accused ________

7. no need for recognition & validation ________

8. the peace of God is on me ________

9. the presence of God comes with me ________

10. people feel safe under my care ________

Put your total score here: _____________ (100 is a mature well balanced life.)

If you dare, go ask 10 people from different backgrounds, who know you, to anonymously and honestly evaluate you using the same chart. How closely their total score reflects yours, will tell you a great deal about how well balanced you actually are.

Not What You Expected

Image:In July of 1969, the United States achieved the dream of landing a man on the moon. Neal Armstrong’s fame was assured when he was picked to be the first man to ever set foot on that celestial body. After traveling through 250,000 miles of empty space, He landed the LEM, nick-named “The Eagle”, with only 15 seconds of fuel remaining. When he stepped on the moon’s surface, His first words were, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. These 11 words are now recorded in the history books of the world. What is not recorded in those same history books is the debate scientists had about the moon itself. There was a great deal of concern that the lunar surface would prevent anyone from actually landing there at all.

There was speculation regarding massive boulders being in the way, since there is no erosional activity, caused by wind and water, like there is on earth. There was concern about radiation pockets on the surface from rocks that had been blasted by meteorite impacts. There was fear about deadly solar wind in the event the sun went through an unexpected time of solar flare activity. Most of all, scientists were convinced that the surface of the moon had to be covered with many feet of fine dust.  That dust would have been swept up and collected on the surface over the millions, or even billions of years, of the moon’s existence. The fact is, there was no plan in place if something went wrong. The men knew they could very well die up there, if anything unexpected happened.

Of all the events that occurred, two things really set the scientists into a frenzy. Both of these things flew in the face of every theory they had, and there has never been a clear explanation as to why these were not what they expected. The first was the lack of dust on the moon’s surface. There was only about an inch of fine, cement-like powder, not the feet that had been anticipated. This reality suggests that the moon must only be ten, or at the most twenty thousand years old. That posed a massive problem for everyone who believed in an “old earth” theory. Creationists saw it as one more proof of Biblical truth, while evolutionists, who refused to consider any alternative, became silent and never brought it up again.

The second thing that caught everyone off guard happened when the LEM was jettisoned from the command module, and set on a path to crash land on the moon. Sensors were left on the moon’s surface to record the impact. The vibration would indicate what kind of rock structure was under the surface. However, upon impact the recording equipment picked up a vibration that no one dreamed possible. It bounced and echoed for many hours around the interior of the moon. The only thing on earth that comes close to that kind of vibrational activity is the structure of a bell. In other words, by these readings, the moon had to be a hollow ball, not a solid mass, and it stunned the scientific community into silence. This was not at all what they had expected.

 What about you? How do you respond when something comes up that you did not expect? Some people become defensive and begin to fight their way out. Others become silent, withdraw and protect what’s theirs. The benefit you get from any new discovery really hangs upon how quickly you are willing to embrace, and assimilate, what you have learned. If you fight things because they don’t prove what you already believe, it means you are not open to new ideas. Like it or not, you are a dinosaur that will soon be facing extinction, because you are not willing to change. However, if you view that new information with excitement, you are one step closer to adapting and being made better, so you can thrive in the change that is about to come.

The point being made here is quite simple.  We will either embrace what comes, and thrive in a time of unexpected change, or we will hold-fast to what we already know, and die. That choice is up to each of us, and we must choose well, or we will find ourselves left behind. If you have been struggling with something that is not what you expected, perhaps it is time to step back and get your bearings in what is going on. You might not be able to change the situation, but you can change your response to it.

You begin this process by relaxing, looking at the options that are available, and setting your course towards what will benefit you the most. You are never a helpless victim, but you may be caught off guard once in a while. Take a moment to catch your breath and use what has happened to your advantage. Regroup if you must, reevaluate as you can and recover the state of composure God says you have if you will rest in Him. So, when things are not what you expected, it’s not the end of the world. If you will take a moment to process things correctly, you may discover that they are exactly what you need to get ready for the unexpected change that is just around the corner.

When November Comes


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Today is November 1st, and in the Adirondacks, when November comes, it means several things. First of all, it means hunting season is in full swing. People are trying to fill freezers with fresh meat for the winter months that are just ahead. There have already been great preparations with the garden harvest, that now over-flows root cellars and pantries. Filled canning jars line storage shelves, and wood  has been split to dry, and piled high. Rich stews are slowly cooking in oven-warmed kitchens, and loaves of steaming bread are placed on cooling racks.

November is a month of dramatic changes, where the world has gone from brilliant splashes of October color, to gray twigs rattling in a cold, north wind. Pale sunlight streams down to highlight the last brown and yellow leaves of birch, beach and ash trees, as they fall to their final winter resting place. It is a month where we pause to think, and remember, and ponder the good things of our past, and look forward to the joy of Thanksgiving. The food and family, that have not yet found their voice, will do so soon enough!

In many ways, November cements the years together for me. It is the culmination of what has been, and the anticipation of what is yet to come. It is the nostalgic glue of years gone by, where half-remembered stories of family history, are told once again to another generation. It is prayer with friends and family, around a Thanksgiving table that is heaped with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, orange-cranberry stuffing, and apple and pumpkin pies. It is hot spiced apple cider, sipped from warm mugs, on evenings when the first snow flakes fall to the ground.

It is a month were the precious time we have together, around the table, restores ancient family ties, builds new memories and  reconnects old friends. Most of all, November is the month were I am drawn closer and closer to the One who loves me. All the food, the family, and the friends I enjoy, serve to remind me of how it all comes from God. He is the author of every good and perfect gift. Each mouth-full of food, or explosion of laughter, echoes His endless affection for me. The mouth-watering aroma of a fresh baked apple pie, just pulled from the oven, opens me to the delight of thanking God in a  new and deeper way.

If November causes you to struggle with thoughts of the snow that is about to come, or dark, cold morning drives to work, perhaps you may need to re-frame how you think about it. In fact, all of life can easily be re-framed, but where you focus your attention plays a very important role in that process. Focus on what goes wrong, and that’s exactly what you will see. Focus on what might go wrong , and you will become the agent of your own undoing. However, good changes begin when you begin to give thanks, and I mean give thanks in everything, not for everything! There is power in what God says about this, and it is quite a shock for most people. The point is, Scripture says a thankful heart pleases God, and it creates a thankful life, and this is what unlocks the potential in us all.

This November, take a moment when friends and family are gathered around your Thanksgiving table, and really give thanks for what you see. Look into the faces, hear the stories, embrace the laughter and savor every moment as a treasured memory. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to what’s next. Slow down, and enjoy the time you have, like you were savoring a rare wine. If you do, it will fill your heart with joy, and be a source of great blessing to you, and the generations that follow. This can be yours simply because you learned to enjoy the life you see all around you, when November comes.

It Has All Been Worth It

42641656_10156815740173675_915971161068666880_nFall colors in the Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains of Vermont are unmatched in beauty by any other place in the United States. The Fall panorama can simply be breath-taking, in so many ways. We have friends who own a plane, and this time of year they often fly over the “High Peaks” region of upstate New York to snap pictures of the landscape that seems almost unearthly. The colors can be so brilliant that it is hard to take it all in.

I was thinking of this as I drove my motorcycle over a few back roads last week. It was a very cold, clear morning but I wanted to take one more ride before taking my bike in for winter repairs. I crested a hill, and there before me was an incredible view. The mountains were a brilliant blaze of colors that no earthly artist could have ever painted. There was liquid orange, and pale pink, splashes of flame red, and a patchwork of every color of the rainbow imaginable. All I could do was pull over, turn off the engine, and in the silence, stare with awe-struck wonder. The rich earthy smells, blue Jays calling in the distance, and the ocean of colors that spread out before me, was beyond description. I was half shivering from the cold, but had to admit when I saw this view, “it has all been worth it”!

As I enjoyed this magnificent artistry, it hit me that all of this beauty was the result of two things. The first was cold temperatures, and the second was dwindling daylight hours.  In all honesty,  I must admit, I never like embracing these changes when they come. This is because I know it means the warm, lazy days of summer are gone. But, I also know these are in fact, the very things that bring about the amazing sight my eyes were beholding. Frost on the ground, and reduced daylight hours, releases the beauty of what comes next. Without these added stress factors, as unpleasant as they are,  it would be absolutely impossible to produce the glory of what was all around me.

In this life, God will often bring us to an uncomfortable place of change, to make us better. It’s the place we have refused to face, or don’t want to process, but we have to go there anyway. We so enjoy the summer we have lived in, and the thought of entering a cold season just does not enter our field of vision. We will comfortably keep doing what has always worked, and find ways to prolong it, even if it is not God’s highest and best for us. Then it happens, the world gets colder and darker, for no apparent reason, and our life is left floundering in a directionless sea of uncertainty. Like it or not, we are then forced into uncomfortable personal change, and there is no way out, so we are forced to go through it instead.

What we often fail to recognize in these tough times, is that this is exactly what we need to bring out the beauty of what comes next. The frost, and longer nights of Autumn, reveal the brilliant colors that will paint the hillsides. So also, the personal distress God allows into our life, is exactly what sets us up for a greater expression of His glory through us. God could leave us as we are, and never bring any challenge to make us grow, but is that what’s best? He could be like a negligent, weakling of a parent, who never crosses their self-willed, dishonoring child. But, let’s be honest. Who enjoys dealing with these kids, and is that what you want for your life?

Every gardener knows it takes a lot of water, fertilizer and sunlight to produce the best harvest. Fruit in our life is just the same, since it grows best when the environment for it is right. That means, the factors that produce joy, come through times of sorrow. What produces patience, is endurance in days of difficulty. What causes peace to grow, is going through seasons of unrest, with godly confidence. It is the frost, and growing darkness of difficult situations, that brings out the beauty and glory of what God has planned for you all along.

Never settle for where you are, or what you have currently achieved. Ask God to give you the desire to be the best version of who He made you to be. That will mean unexplained seasonal shifts, where frost and darkness are your companions. It will mean adjusting your vision, and displaying a better attitude in moments of crisis. Most of all, it will mean finding your value in who He says your are, not in what you think you do well. Change is the order of life, and it often comes through things we would prefer not to experience. However, when you see the amazing landscape of life that God lays out before you, you will say, as I did on that frosty, clear morning, “it has all been worth it”. Now, bundle up, get out there and don’t let the frost keep you from enjoying all the beauty that surrounds you.

Clash Of Cultures


The Romans believed their empire rested on the concept of “Pax Deorum”, meaning “peace of the gods”. That is, if the Romans did right by all the gods, those deities would bring them peace and prosperity. When followers of Christ came along, this upset the balance of power Rome thought it had achieved. Christians claimed the pagan gods were demonic, and real peace only came through the truth of God’s Kingdom. This created a massive clash of cultures within the empire that Rome had never experienced before. If the Roman government allowed Christians to propagate their beliefs, even though they were model citizens, the gods would be angry, and they would withhold their favor from the Empire, and it’s people.

Usually, Rome embraced the cultures they conquered, allowing them to quietly assimilate their beliefs into Roman society. Even though Christians were peaceful, and obeyed the laws, they refused to acknowledge any other God but the God of Scripture. This became a huge problem for Rome, and it caused a massive division in the otherwise united empire that sprawled across the land. Thus, Christianity began to conquer the unconquerable Romans, by splitting the spiritual culture in half, and that created a multitude of problems for everyone.

Persecutors would give Christians the chance to go free if they would just acknowledge the Roman gods, but they refused to do so. They chose rather to die, than offer a pinch of incense, or say a few ritual words to a false god. This practice amazed the Romans, as they had only seen such unwavering bravery among their own soldiers. As a result, massive persecution arose against Christians all across the Roman Empire, but not because they believe in Christ. The Romans felt that any belief, even belief in Jesus, was fine. The persecution came because Christians refused to believe in anything BUT Jesus. They would not compromise the truth, and became the target of unspeakable torture.

Once the Romans realized Christians would never blend quietly into their culture, everything changed. Their very presence was viewed as a threat to the unity, peace and prosperity of the Empire. The “Pax Romana” or “Roman Peace” could not be possible as long as Christians were present. Rome had no fear of being defeated by the sword, or a vast, invading army. These could be conquered and grafted into the Empire. It’s greatest fear was that it would be unraveled by internal division. Who was this formidable, unconquerable enemy? Those who loved God, lived in peace, and loved others, but held unswervingly to the truth of Scripture.

The world loves it’s own. That’s what Jesus told his disciples over 2000 years ago, and it’s still true today. The world also, by it’s very nature, will always hate those who stand immovable, on biblical ground. Why? Because we bring conviction regarding sin, and that rocks the boat everyone else is enjoying. Regardless of the consequences, Christians are called to stand their ground, in love. Even when the world wants us to back their position for the sake of peace, we must still hold on to the truth. No matter how unpopular we may become, or how much we are accused of being “haters”, Biblical truth never changes, and neither can we.

Peace achieved by embracing everything, means people really don’t believe anything. There is no truth present when everyone, and every belief, is considered to be right. It’s impossible to have lasting peace, without truth being at the center of it. The universal standard of right and wrong that truth always holds dear, is what brings real peace. Thus, Christianity will always be at odds with any belief system, or empire, that does not line up with the Kingdom of God.

This is why we don’t rejoice and applaud, when a Hollywood star gets pregnant outside of marriage. They are thrilled and full of joy, but we are shamed and see disgrace by such behavior, and we must call it what it really is, fornication and immorality. The world hates us for this because we live by a higher moral standard that is set in place by Scripture. People in the world join themselves to same sex partners, and they applaud those who “come out of the closet” . We on the other hand, still love these people, but we call this behavior sexual sin, and believe our God can deliver anyone from this lifestyle of bondage. The results is always the same. The world hates us and calls us “hateful and prejudice”, simply because we hold to a higher standard that is grounded in 4000 years Biblical truth.

Just like it was in the Roman Empire, the clash of cultures is setting the world on fire once again. The set of ideals the world embraces to bring peace, is at odds with the truth Christians must live by. And, just like it was in ancient Rome, the roar of that clash means it’s not going to get any easier for those who really know, and love God. True Christianity, that which is grounded in the truth of God’s Word, will always come with a price. Every Christian will eventually have to stand and speak against the flood of immoral, and unethical standards the world holds in high esteem. When that day comes, the question is, will you pay the price for righteousness, or will you be swept up in the new “Pax Deorum” and “Pax Romana” the world offers to all?

Ephesians 6:13-15 says “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” May the truth of God’s word strengthen you to confront in love, what is wrong, and not conform to the standard of this world. May the overcoming love of God strengthen you to speak the truth in a darkening world, and rescue those who hear it. May you go boldly into any dark night and shine with the light of God’s eternal Gospel when the clash of cultures comes your way.