Lord, The Wicked are Laughing

Psa 91:14-16 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. (15) When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. (16) With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Anyone who follows Christ, who walks in faith and confesses Him in this fallen world, is going to become the target of the wicked. I concluded long ago that the fundamental reason so many abuse victims are abuse victims is because they are Christians and their abuser, in spite of his charade of “godliness,” is a child of the devil. He hates the truth, hates the light, hates the Lord whom his victim follows.

I have seen it and experienced it as well in local churches. The Psalmist’s question, “why do the nations rage?” (Psalm 2) is a question I have often over the years asked in this form, “why do the church members rage against the Lord and His truth?” EVERY local church that I have been called to pastor, EVERY single one, required intense battle. Not with enemies outside, but with those inside the visible church.

Now, these evil ones parading in their unholy charade disguises, would have us believe that we are the problem. That we are too narrow, too judgmental, too unfriendly, too…..you fill in the blank. Domestic abusers make just such accusations as well. I have had hypocrites sit in my office more than once, putting themselves off as eminent saints, and tell me “unless you stop doing what you are doing, unless you start preaching sermons that we like….this church is going to just dry up and blow away.” The intensity of these kind of attacks increased as we began our present ministry of exposing domestic abusers hiding in the church.

But the Lord has promised to sustain, protect, and provide for His people. If we truly know His name, He WILL protect us. He WILL hear us and rescue us. And in the end, we will not be ashamed. We will never find out that it was all a sham, that His promises were false, and that, as Paul said, “we are of all men most to be pitied.” Nope. Never going to happen. Christ is risen just as He said.

Psa 7:11-17 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. (12) If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; (13) he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.

(14) Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. (15) He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. (16) His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.

(17) I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

The Danger of Confusing Faith with Superstition

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Many non-Christians accuse Christians of being superstitious (and therefore foolish) people. Some of these accusations are correct. Let me show you why. First, some definitions:

Faith is trust in God. Superstition is trust in man.

Faith is reliance upon God’s Word. Superstition is reliance upon man’s word.

Faith has what is unseen as its object. Superstition’s focus is upon man’s visible, tangible actions.

Faith is reliance upon God’s actions. Superstition is reliance upon man’s actions.

We could continue making these contrasts, but this should be sufficient.

Now, why do I maintain that the “faith” of many professing Christians is actually superstition? Let me give you some examples.

  • I have been very good today. God will give me that new job.
  • If I just keep working harder and harder on submitting to my abuser husband, God will work a miracle and change him.
  • If I don’t go to church this Sunday, God will not bless me this week.
  • I am going to gather as many people together to pray and God will heal my friend. The more people we get to pray, the more likely God will hear us.
  • I faithfully tithe to my church. God will give me back more than I give.

Understand? Do you see that these common notions are all examples, not of real faith, but of superstition? It is pure myth that by my doings I can manipulate God. That is not Christianity. It is pagan magic. You see it in Rome. Say this many hail whatevers, crawl up so many stone steps, etc, etc, and God will act. But evangelicals have their own brand of chants, charms, and mantras.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and if you are a Christian, there is a very high probability that you have been told/taught/indoctrinated with superstitions of this sort. And perhaps you are even still clinging to them. They need to go. To the dump. Right away.

Superstition has as its agenda man’s agenda. Faith trusts in God’s agenda. So to remain in an abusive marriage under the guise of “faith and obedience” as the path to the salvation of your abuser and the healing of your marriage is superstition. It is seeking your own agenda. Most often, God’s agenda is radically different than ours – and radically better. The one is fiction, the other is reality given and scripted by God alone.

Take a close look at yourself. How much of your “faith” could actually be superstition? And in what ways is that superstition working to keep you in bondage?

 

 

What if we all just Stopped………?

Psa 46:8-10 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. (9) He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Busy, busy, busy. This seems to be the widely accepted trait of a “successful” church and the life of a “successful” Christian. Most people select a church that has plenty of things happening.

  • Men’s ministries
  • Women’s ministries
  • Youth and children’s ministries
  • A network of cell groups
  • Choir
  • Worship team
  • Missions
  • Committees
  • Social activism programs
  • Denominational membership and leadership
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Counseling departments

Those pastors who head such structures are deemed to be “doing the Lord’s work” and are touted as models of success for all the rest to emulate. See what the Lord has done, they say.

But over the years I have come to doubt that the Lord is in much of this kind of thing at all. That the vast bulk of it is the work of man’s hands. Why do I say this?

I say it because of the fruit that I have seen these things produce. I have seen what goes on “behind the scenes” in the ruling council meetings. I have seen how such places treat abuse victims and enable abusers. I have seen how the wicked, wearing a cloak of wool, find such environments very easy to hide in. And I have seen how God’s truth is discounted and rejected by people who claim to be steering a flagship of the faith.

And I have seen something else that leads me to these conclusions.

I have seen that entities such as these churches stand in graphic contrast to what we see in the Scriptures. People and churches truly raised up, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, are humble places. Often quite small. They are people hated by the world and persecuted by the counterfeit church. The real deal is a place where Christ’s people fully know that unless the Lord builds it, man labors in vain. The true body of Christ is characterized by contented waiting for the Lord in faith rather than a constant “we must stir it up. We must make something happen.” Because the true church is energized by the Holy Spirit, not by man’s own doings.

Is this not true? Do I exaggerate? I think not:

Heb 11:35-40 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. (36) Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– (38) of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, (40) since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Christ’s real people walk by faith, not by sight. They do not need to be constantly pushed and re-booted by “new things” with catch-phrase names stamped with some leader’s assurance that “it is all of the Lord.” They do not demand a sign like an evil and adulterous generation craves. No. Faith simply trusts and waits, assured that in His time the Lord will surely act.

The hypocrite, who is devoid of faith, cannot abide by such quiet waiting. He will, in short time, leave such a place and search out the beehive of activity offered by Babel. In such places, evil finds a reception.