After the Apostle Paul completed his travels and public teachings in many lands, he was ultimately arrested in Rome. For a while they allowed Him freedom of movement about in Rome, but later, as the authorities finally decided that Christianity had to be destroyed, He was held in around the clock confinement awaiting his certain fate: death. The passage quoted above was written to Timothy, part of the second of two letters to encourage his continued work in a time of peril. Paul had trained him as his protegee to serve the growing group of Christian believers in Ephesus following his departure.
Timothy is an interesting character in the story of the early Church, the son and grandson of two Jewish women who had accepted belief in Jesus Christ. Paul said fondly that he was the first second generation Christian proclaiming the faith.
I mention this today since it was at the time that the Romans, led by Emperor Nero, began a huge purge to destroy any vestige of Christianity in their empire. In this purge, which did not succeed in its ultimate goal, all of the Apostles except John were put to death by crucifixion. After writing the Gospel of John and the total destruction of Jerusalem, he was exiled to Patmos off the Greek coast instead, receiving the spirit to write Revelation, a book which to many is very frightening but, in fact, offers great hope. Never could that be more needed than in today's modern world.
Today Christianity seems to be going through a similar situation across the world. In Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and in many other parts of the world, including Africa, believers are being tortured, raped, murdered and made into slaves by those who hate the idea of a Living God who would send His Son to save us from ourselves. Even in Europe and the United States, the rise of secularism has become so overbearing that each day more and more pressure is being applied to silence those who follow the Cross. The horrific treatment of our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world is scantly noticed, yet we get a daily dose of ideologically driven dogma instread. Where physical violence isn't being used, the new tool of political correctness is applied, tearing apart the very foundation of this nation as ordained by God in the Declaration of Independence through the Founders and in other God-acknowledging documents throughout the Western world.
True believing Christians have never tried to force their beliefs on others, but we are not amenable to the government or any other entity dictating how we carry out our faith in our churches or what we believe. Such entities as the IRS and other government agencies have no business "sticking their noses" into our cherished belief nor do we need to be scorned and verbally abused by others who don't share our faith.
It truly appears that something dramatic and certainly not representing goodness has happened to the psyche of America that must be caused by false prophets or else we wouldn't find our children being indoctrinated in schools, with the ultimate goal to redirect their belief structure. This is clearly not in the purview of government, but does point to the fulfillment of prophecy as depicted in Paul's letter to Timothy. It is a time when good becomes bad and bad becomes good and so many fall for it, giving way to their worst instincts inspired by making the wrong choices under free will.
We're at a true crossroads and those of us who believe must be willing to stand for the Living God or we will be judged just as severely when Judgement Day comes as those who already scorn Him. Is that time near? Well, we don't know, but we do know this: Jesus Christ will return and when He does He will rule all over all and His chief adversary, satan (sorry, folks, I refuse to capitalize the name of the fallen one) will be banished forever. And for those who laugh and make jokes about this and say it is impossible, I remind them that belief in Jesus Christ is based on faith and faith only comes from opening the heart to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Omnipotent God, sent to guide us to make good choices.
Take a moment thinking about that, open that rusty old hinge on your heart and ask Him to enter. Give it some time, study, and prayer and you might just be surprised, but only if you are sincere in your efforts. For God knows all about us, who is being true and who is being phony, and he remembers.
Get ready, folks, the troubled times will only get worse before they get better but if you labor on and waiver not, a great reward, greater than anything we can humanly imagine, awaits. Smoke and fire may engulf those of us who refuse to listen, but an Eternity with God above is the ultimate result for those who believe and it all comes from your own free will choice. Good or bad, it's up to you and allowing each of us to make the decision is what makes a good decision so special.
Stand for Him while we still can. He will give us all the strength if we just ask. God bless.