First They Came

In my previous post, “I’m A Patriot, but…,” it would seem as though I am saying the righteous are to be passive. However, just as in the days of Nehemiah, while there was certainly the need of prayer and repentance, there was also work to be done—and that work would be opposed by ungodly men.

Today, just as then, the godly are opposed by the ungodly and wicked. Still, there is much more happening behind the scenes that we do not see. The Bible reveals to us:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ~ Ephesians 6:10-13

There is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9), and this is undoubtedly true concerning the schemes of evil. It is interesting how the wicked today accuse others as being “Nazis” (among other slanderous things), all the while it is they who use many of the very methods of Adolf Hitler to push their agendas (the use of controlling what was taught, use of the media, the stripping of rights, the use of the manipulated and brainwashed youth, etc.). Even though there were godly men such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer who saw what was happening, but those like him were viewed as the enemies. America is facing a similar situation, as wicked individuals who lust not only for power, but the advancement of a godless and evil one world government—a “New World Order.”

Many might be familiar with the poem I spun the following words from, but the truth remains. This is not about a political party, but a darkness rising to strip the rights, voices, and very personhood of a people. 

First they came after bakers and they did not speak out because they’re not bakers. 

Then they came after gun owners and they did not speak out because they don’t have or like guns. 

Then they came after pro-lifers and they did not speak out (although a percentage claim to be pro-lifers).

Then they came after conservatives and they did not speak out because they are not conservatives.

Then they came after Trump supporters (such deplorables!) and they did not speak out because they are not Trump supporters.

Then they came for Christians and Jews whom they have increasingly, brazenly mocked and they did not speak out because they are not Christians or Jews.

Eventually they will trample and rob them of their voice and freedoms and there will be no one left to speak out, and they will be greatly perplexed as they wonder, “What happened? We supported the very ones who trampled upon us!”

The nature of evil is not only that it is corrupt but it also corrupts, poisons, distorts, steals, and destroys (see John 8:44; 10:10). We are witnessing the rise of evil as it seeks to destroy the family structure, freedom, the Constitution, and personhood. It rages against Christ and all who would oppose, scoffs at whatever is holy and right, and tramples on whatever is sacred. This evil transcends political parties, and is not only being applauded but also assisted by many. Understand, evil hides beneath a cloak of deception until it gains the upper hand.

While the battle belongs to the Lord (see 1 Sam. 17:47), the godly and righteous are not to sit idly and do nothing. We must pray for God’s intervention, and we must repent of our own wicked ways (see Neh. 1). We must engage in this spiritual battle being waged and decry the deception, hypocrisy, greed, violence, and blasphemies taking place. My friends, if the plans of the wicked come to fruition, mark my words, misery will be afflicted on many. No, now is not the time to be slothful or passive. We must pray urgently, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and stand to fight. To do nothing is not only wicked in itself, but it is to passively join the ranks of the spreading evil. We are caught between a rock and a hard place, and whatever choice we make will have consequences. But know this, we stand not only for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. If we do not challenge the evil that is rising, then we will deserve the misery inflicted on us. Let me be clear, finally, that this is not a call for violence; rather, the battle we wage is fought on our knees in prayer.

Encourage Your Pastor

One of the sad (but true) jokes in churches is that many families will have roasted pastor for dinner after Sunday’s service. However, the pastor who is genuinely called by God and is trying to lead a congregation in the ways of God has a tremendous responsibility. Furthermore, he does so many things behind the scenes ministering to others most are unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, pastors do far more than “just prepare for sermons and preach.” They serve as counselors and comforters, and many are on-call 24/7.

Pastors are not perfect (although they are to be godly). They have feelings and passions. They experience fear, sadness, discouragement, and anger. Many are husbands and fathers trying to be good In these roles (these are difficult for them too), and often people expect their families to be picture perfect. Dysfunction brings their calling, character, and credibility into question.

Pastors must deal with conviction and accountability to God for how they behave and handle the Word of God. They must deal with their own consciences making them aware of their failures and inadequacies. And pastors have “a target on their backs,”  more so than the average Christian, because if Satan can influence them to fall into gross sin and scandalous activities, then congregations can be divided, confounded, and even faith being shipwrecked of some.

I have read of the following statistics:

  • 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends.
  • 70% of pastors struggle with depression.
  • 1500 pastors quit each month.
  • 10% will retire as pastors.
  • 80% of pastors feel discouraged.
  • 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry.
  • 78% of pastors have no close friends.
  • 90% of pastors report to working 55-75 hours per week.

The primary tasks of a pastor is studying/teaching God’s Word and devoting himself to earnest prayer. Christians can say they “love God’s Word,” but pastors make a lot of people mad when they do truly preach God’s Word!

If you have a godly (albeit imperfect) pastor who strives to be faithful to Jesus Christ, His Word, and the Great Commission; and if he seeks to minister to the congregation and is burdened for the souls of people, then you are truly blessed. The Bible says this of such individuals:

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. ~ 1 Timothy 5:17 (ESV)

And,

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. ~ Hebrews 13:17

Do you give honor—even double honor—to your pastor? Or do you nit pick his flaws, give him grief because he did not call you on your birthday, and roast him because he preached against your beloved pet sin(s)? If the latter, how is this of any benefit to you? What gain is there in wounding and making the work difficult of one who loves you? Sadly, often pastors pour themselves out (sometimes at the expense of their families) only to meet with continual resistance, roasting, and betrayal from congregants. 

Do you pray for your pastor’s well being? Have you encouraged your pastor (and his family) lately? A gift, a note of appreciation, and the like could be of great encouragement to him. It might even be that needed spark to help him keep from giving up. Encourage your pastor. He experiences the stresses of life and loss, just as you, all the while putting these aside ad he tried to minister to others. The weight and burdens he carries with him you will never understand. He needs your prayers and encouragement more than you can ever know.