Hard Times :: by Grant Phillips

When I was a young fellow, seems like my past life, I remember thinking that we Christians needed a challenge, like the challenges that Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, and others faced in the Old Testament. “We would stand up to those guys too and God would be pleased with us,” so I thought. Talk about young and stupid. Well that’s youth for you.

The truth is we today do face challenges, the challenges of temptation in various forms. The temptation is always there to do the right thing or the wrong thing, just as much today as it was thousands of years ago.

The challenges we face as Christians in this country range far and wide, but at least our standing up for God will not result in our martyrdom, yet. Hard times are coming though.

We know that every man, woman and child will be challenged to stand on the Lord’s side or accept the mark of the Antichrist in the Tribulation. Those who refuse the mark of the beast will suffer mightily and probably even lose their lives. Will our lives be on the line though before the Tribulation?

Many in other countries, right now, today suffer extreme persecution for their refusal to deny Christ. They have so little because so much has been taken away, but yet they are rich spiritually. Many of us in this country have so much and little to nothing has been taken away, but we are poor spiritually. Which is better?

No one wants to suffer. Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t want to suffer. When they stood up for what was right they didn’t know for sure what the outcome would be. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t know the fire wouldn’t harm them and Daniel didn’t know the lions wouldn’t eat him, but they did know that God would be with them regardless.

Is it conceivable that the testing of our faith, prior to the Rapture, could cause us much suffering in this country? It doesn’t sound plausible. We are the land of the free. I don’t know the answer, and I’m certainly not trying to frighten anyone, but we do need to think about it.

Perhaps someone is thinking, “I’d rather not think about it until it happens.” I don’t think that is the right answer, especially for Christians in the United States of America. Why would I say that?

There are many Christians in this great land who are strong in the Lord, not by their might, but by His power. There are many who have a close relationship with the Lord and are prepared for whatever life throws at them.

On the other hand, there is a large number of Christians who are weak spiritually. They succumb to every challenge coming and going. How will they face severe challenges like loss of property, imprisonment, beatings, starving, or even death if they can’t even succeed now over the smaller ones?

There are perhaps an even greater number of pseudo Christians who claim the name of Christ, but don’t really know Him. They haven’t a chance until they come to the foot of the cross. There will be no one there for them, God specifically, to lean on until they truly come to Christ to be saved.

The greatest challenges facing this earth are ahead during the time of Tribulation. If the seven years Tribulation period were a fire, how close would we get to it before being snatched out of the way? That’s something to think about. We won’t get close enough to be consumed, but will we get singed? Maybe just the heat from the fire will make it quite uncomfortable for a while. I don’t know.

Whatever the case, any trial at all will be much discomfort to powder puffs. Have you ever watched a marsh mellow as you slowly put it closer and closer to the flames? We’re the marsh mellow. We can’t take the heat. Why? Maybe it’s because we lean on our own power instead of God’s power. We have no power folks. Our strength is in Him.

I remind you, I’m not talking about the strong Christians I mentioned above. I’m referring to those who are still on the bottle; the ones I mentioned after that.

I have no crystal ball and do not know the extremity of our predicament in this country, but it doesn’t take much to conclude we’re a train wreck headed for disaster. The key question is when.

I marvel that we, as a nation, have not already imploded financially. I visualize a balloon that is being filled with air. It’s getting bigger and bigger. If the air doesn’t stop going in, there can be only one result; it will explode. Could God be holding back our fall in this area, so far? I think so.

Then something else draws my attention. Christians are definitely losing all the popularity contests. Can you believe it? This was once a Christian country, and now not only are Christians being mocked, but hated, and the voices keep getting louder.

Anti-God remarks, homosexuality, abortion (infant murder), greed, lust, avarice, are all gaining in popularity, while anything associated with God is being pushed aside. The children of the night are raising their voices to be heard. The children of the day say nothing, since that just wouldn’t be “Christian.” Hogwash!

Have you noticed lately the hatred that comes forth from the liberal media toward anything conservative? Have you noticed how they’ve changed the word “fundamental” to be a “dirty” word? Jesus Christ was, and is, a fundamental conservative. Therefore I am proud to claim the same. How about you?

Hard times are coming, and they are already here for many folks right here in the good old USA. Satan isn’t backing off. The Devil’s crowd is now in control, and they’re winning. Well, at least that’s what they think.

Here’s the bottom line. They fight with hate. Because we are of Christ, we fight with love. Can we stand up for the Truth and still fight with love? Absolutely! Just because we love those who despitefully use us doesn’t mean we have to be mealy mouths. We may not hate the sinner, but we most definitely should hate the sin, and we need to say so. Will it bring hard times down on us? The way things are going these days, there’s a pretty good chance it may. So what?

Now is our chance to stand alongside Daniel. Will the lions eat us? Maybe, maybe not, but as the Apostle Paul said,

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

Grant Phillips