Will you come in from the cold? Or die?

I walk about seven blocks to work each morning from my train stop. Today it was especially windy, cold and a bit wet. The wind is the worst part and as I walked briskly to my office building it occurred to me that if the predictions of Revelation that say “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. ” (Revelation 13:16-17 ESV) are literal then they are going to happen or have happened already.

What was on my mind was “Would I, as much as I hate the cold, be willing to live outside, be cold and be without shelter if it came to doing that rather than deny Christ?” And to be perfectly honest, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to bear it for long.

This brings to mind the suffering ana-baptists of the 16th century who suffered persecution and loss of all their worldly goods from the Roman church, some Reformation folk and their governments. These people ended up living communally in the woods and hardlyany shelter but what they made do with. They also shared everything they still possessed that they carried with them. And to top it off, they were considered rebels and were subject to arrest, imprisonment, and death without much more than a formality of a hearing.

One thing I notice a lot these days, including in me, is that we American Christians are far too fond of our pleasures, especially our comforts and our food. I am eating a bowl of my favorite ice cream while I write this and it makes me realize what a spiritual wimp I am, when it comes right down to it. I am not advocating an asceticism involving fasting or mistreating the body. But, I do believe that all of us are guilty, to one extent or another, of gluttony and lack of self control.

I thank God my preoccupation now is His Word, church history and the study of doctrine and theology. But, even in that I lack some self control, not always being obedient to the idea of getting the rest I need for the next day. But, I am glad that I am not in love with the things (toys, cars, sports, movies) of this world any more. And that is my greatest Ebenezer to the fact that I am a new creature in Christ.

That said, I am nowhere near the kind of believer and faithful servant I will need to be when and if (I think the when is much more likely) I am required to give up,the life of comfort for His Name’s sake. God help us all to be obedient, as Christ was, even unto death. He is worthy of that kind of faithfulness from us.

Grace and peace and especially Love from God to all my fellow believers.

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by memnan on March 10, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Welcome to Wimps for Jesus…When we are weak…HE IS STRONG! I am definitely the chiefest of wimps. Might I suggest that you and our fellow wimps take a little jog over to:

    http://davidwilkersontoday.blogspot.com/

    He has some excellent thoughts on just this subject…go back to at least the first of March…I guarantee you will be refreshed.

  2. Posted by indywatchman on March 10, 2009 at 5:25 am

    Prodigal,

    I don’t believe that there is a Christian among us that has not shared those exact sentiments. For my own consolation I must return to “truth” and the assurance of the Word to gain courage. I know you do these things already and this is nothing new, but to be reminded that “a closer walk with Jesus” makes our burden light is never bad advise.

    There is a flow to our existence on this ball of dirt we call planet earth. That flow is governed by this earth’s Prince, Satan. We see this flow all around us, and many/most times we can not help but get caught in the current, even without our consent or knowledge. The Bible give us a prescription to avoid this problem. Obviously the current is swiftest as we are pulled into the deep then funneled into the vortex of dangerous rapids, so avoiding even the temptation to test those waters could mean death. We are told to “despise even the garment tainted by the flesh” as good advise. Other places tell us to get rid of the “leaven” from our lives, and to “come out from amongst them and be separate,” and the advise that is best suited for survival in these dark days of dangerous waters is to “forbid not the gathering of yourselves together.” There is strength in numbers! I know the numbers are small, but even a two stranded cord gives strength greater than a single thread. The commercial church will not even show up on the radar of the communion I refer to, and could be a hindrance, depending how much they are in the “flow” of ignorance.

    I have for several years prayed that the Lord would bring into my life those who share in my new found revelation of truth, but waited in vain, or so I thought. Then, only recently, the Lord honored my perseverance and brought closer those who I “thought” were only at arms reach. We need the strength of spiritual unity to do the things necessary to survive our time behind enemy lines, and we must seek out those of like mind, “a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters” all helping, protecting, sharing, providing, teaching, bound together in the Spirit of unity.

    The world is a scary place, as we all know, but we have consolation from His Word that “The Lord sent a word unto Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel” and they that have an ear will “hear what the Spirit is saying” that “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

    Blessings,

    Steve Blackwell
    http://www.indywatchman.com

  3. What wonderful words from folks I hold dear! It’s like we’re at war and the only communication we have at times is this modern form of walkie-talkie!

    Thanks for the link Nancy. I’ve heard of Wilkerson and will check him out.

    And Steve…..just keep hanging in there. You encourage me brother!

  4. Posted by Carol on March 10, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Oh boy brother, I love you so much! I pray God will knock your socks off with His spiritual wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and I pray you find peace and joy and I can barely contain my love for you!

    Peace and love in Christ, my most dearly loved brother!

  5. Thanks Carol! I know you are going through a perplexing time and I pray that God will guide you and keep you safe in the rapids.

  6. Posted by Carol on March 10, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I am, brother, and your understanding and love means so much to me! With tears in my eyes I thank you!

  7. Posted by Carol on March 10, 2009 at 11:48 am

    I started a new blog, brother, if you would keep an eye on me, I appreciate it! carolannshipley.wordpress.com

    Peace and love and you to you in Christ!

  8. Posted by sreneetn1 on March 13, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Steve,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts…I too tend to think about the strength of my faith – how far will I really go? Often reflecting on the strength of other believers, outside of America and to Christians of long ago, admiring their faith – and concluding how weak I am – how weak America Christianity is. Often what we call a “sacrifice” is nothing short of a little inconvenience. Though this does bring sadness to my heart – I do not allow it to brew there for very long – I heed to examining myself and realize that God has me where I am for a reason and will continue to guide me where He wants me – and as you concluded at the end of your post…”God help us all to be obedient, as Christ was, even unto death. He is worthy of that kind of faithfulness from us.” Amen!

  9. Posted by flee the wrath on March 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Nice post PK! I am in awe that many of us are like minded on many issues though we have little to do with each other on a daily basis. Praise the Lord, I do believe the Holy Spirit is at work amongst us.
    Tim.

  10. Thanks Tim!

    I am just trying to stay awake, as are you and a few others. The night is coming when no man can work.

    Peace and grace in Christ!

  11. Oh wow, someone else that had the ‘guts’ to say what has come to my mind and troubled me. I am not alone in this. Without going into a long story, there was this man from either Pakistan or India that was a muslim who came to Christ while in his home country. He lost much, was even arrested and was threatened with being burned to death yet he did not recant. Anyway, to keep this short, while he was at my church, someone commented to him after his testimony that it must be easier to be a Christian here in the United States. He stunned me with his answer. He said no, it’s more dangerous to be a Christian in the United States because people don’t see a need to rely on Him as much. I’ve never forgotten that.

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