|7 Characteristics of Modern Christians
Posted: 17 Jul 2018 09:07 PM PDT
Today is my 67th birthday and this month is Bible Love Note’s 7th birthday, so please allow me to depart from my usual format.
I’d like to share some of my observations after 40 years of Christian ministry, leading Bible studies, teaching Bible seminars, working with Christian women’s groups, doing overseas Christian work, editing devotions, writing a blog, doing ministry on social media, and being a wife, mother, and grandmother.
1. Christians aren’t the same, and it’s a good thing.
It is my prayer that I will fully appreciate and enjoy how Jesus is honored in different cultures and different denominations.
2. Some Christians are growing and some are perpetual babies.
It is my prayer that I will always be deliberate about my walk with the Lord, always seeking to know Christ better.
3. Christians view Scripture differently.
There are many popular beliefs in Christian circles that are simply worldly philosophies repackaged using Christian words. They do serious damage to our walk with the Lord. The only remedy is a deeper respect for God’s Word and a commitment to check all teachings, no matter how popular, against the words of Scripture.
It is my prayer that I will not be taken captive by human philosophies that contradict God’s Word (Colossians 2:8).
It is my prayer that I will hold my tongue unless I can share my views in love (Ephesians 4:14-15).
5. Christians don’t view culture the same.
Culture tests Christians daily. Will we stand up for the “hard” parts of the Gospel or buckle under the pressure? The pressure comes not only from the world but also from compromised Christians.
It is my prayer that I will stand firm so one day Jesus may say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
6. Christians view Jesus differently.
Misunderstandings about God’s character are the source of many false teachings.
It is my prayer to genuinely know Christ even if involves hardship and persecution (Philippians 3:10).
7. Christians don’t have the same committment.
Everyone loves the benefits of Christian faith – and there are many. But genuine believers also submit to the responsibilities and difficulties of faith (John 14:21).
My prayer for this coming year is that my devotions will not only encourage others to love Jesus more fully, but they will also encourage me to love Him more fully.
I feel incredibly blessed by my readers who give me the opportunity each weekday to share truths from God’s wonderful Word! Thank you! Gail
One is not saved by going to church, doing good works, trying to be moral on their own merit, following rules and regulations or sacraments and traditions.
One is not saved by belonging to a particular denomination, saying all the right words, memorizing Scripture, fasting, praying, or by saying a prayer of salvation.
One is not saved by standing in a pulpit. One is not saved by being a Christian speaker or a Christian leader. One is not saved by being religious.
Whether it is a prayer of salvation, or following sacraments and traditions – it is all the same. These things alone do not save us. Because they are ALL equally inadequate for salvation. But the prayer of salvation is a good place to start to communicate with our Lord.
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
We Are All Sinners:
Make no mistake about this, we are all sinners! We all have deceitful and wicked hearts. We tend to drift to self interest instead of thinking about what is best for others.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
Saved By Grace:
Christianity is distinct from other religions in the world because we are saved by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and not by our own works. We can’t work our way to heaven. We have to surrender every part of our lives to the power of Jesus Christ.
Only then do we become new creatures. Only then do we know without a doubt, that we are going to our eternal home in heaven to be with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One God revealed in three distinct and eternal persons.
“Yes” or “No” to Christ:
We all have the option to receive or decline this precious gift that God has offered us. We all have the option to say “yes” to Jesus Christ or “no” to Him. As a matter of fact, it is more than an option, it is a requirement. Yes or No.
People who say “no” to salvation do so at their own risk. Just take a few minutes, search the Scriptures, and see what Jesus says about hell. And see that He alone is our escape! It is really that simple. Study, pray and talk to Jesus from your heart.
He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (Matthew 12:30)
It is a Free Gift:
Salvation is nothing any of us deserve and it is nothing we can earn – it is a free gift. If you have not accepted that free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, maybe today is the day.
For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8)
We are not promised tomorrow. This is serious business people and to delay your salvation is the biggest mistake a human being can make. Your eternal destination depends on it. Talk to Jesus one on one.
He already knows everything about you. You won’t shock Him. Humble yourself this day in front of our Lord Jesus. Confess your sins to Him and repent. You can find salvation right now, today!
Silence truly can be golden. I can remember like it was yesterday when my very wise mother washed out my brother Jimmy’s mouth with soap for saying the most dreaded foul four letter word that is unfortunately used in everyday language today.
He was testing the waters of his ability to shock and awe our mom and she was having none of it. It is interesting to note that I never once heard him utter that word again even to this day.
The only damage it did to him was to let him know his smart and vulgar mouth would simply not be tolerated. And it worked. As I watched from the down the hall, I also learned that foul language was not welcome in our home.
If she had spanked him, well, I think he would have just shrugged it off, but this was different. He got the message – sometimes it is just smart to be silent. Anyway, mom never spanked us because she said we were good kids. Until that fateful day, however, when that four letter word hung in the air and sounded like he had yelled it through a megaphone.
The Beauty and Wisdom of Silence:
A while back I came across a list of Biblical teachings regarding Christians holding their tongues. Hmm…now that should hit us just where it hurts. We have all been guilty of the wayward tongue in some fashion or another, so we can all learn something here.
The Book of James teaches us that the tongue is a wicked thing. It destroys reputations, attacks good character, it can be vulgar and damning and just downright evil. Whisperers and backbiters leave behind a road of utter destruction. Only the Holy Spirit can keep our tongues under check. When we allow Him to do so, that is.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6-8)
This is a list of 20 times we should remain silent. None of us hit the mark when it comes to controlling our tongues. Many of you can probably add to the list.
- Be Silent in the heat of anger (Proverbs 14:17)
- Be Silent when you don’t have all the facts. (Proverbs 18:13)
- Be Silent when you haven’t verified the story. (Deuteronomy 17:6)
- Be Silent if your words offend a weaker person. (1 Corinthians 8:11)
- Be Silent when it is time to listen. (Proverbs 13:1)
- Be Silent when you are tempted to make light of Holy things. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
- Be Silent when you are tempted to joke about sin. (Proverbs 14:9)
- Be Silent if you would be ashamed of your words later. (Proverbs 8:8)
- Be Silent if your words convey the wrong impression. (Proverbs 17:27)
- Be Silent if the issue is none of your business. (Proverbs 14:10)
- Be Silent when you are tempted to tell an outright lie. (Proverbs 4:24)
- Be Silent if your words will damage someone else’s reputation. (Proverbs 16:27)
- Be Silent if you words will damage a friendship. (Proverbs 16:28)
- Be Silent when you are feeling critical. (James 3:9)
- Be Silent if you can’t say it without screaming it. (Proverbs 25:28)
- Be Silent if your words will be a poor reflection on the Lord or your friend or your family. (1 Peter 2:21-23)
- Be Silent when you may have to eat your words later. (Proverbs 18:21)
- Be Silent if you have already said it more than one time. (Proverbs 19:13)
- Be Silent when you are tempted to flatter a wicked person. (Proverbs 24:24)
- Be Silent when you are supposed to be working. (Proverbs 14:23)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:6-7)
All glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
This little Child born to the Virgin Mary confounded the world, and He still does. But one thing is for sure, so many people of this world are hurting and the most important aspect of life is to share the love of Jesus. Show others His faithfulness, His truth, His healing power and His love.
It is a simple message and yet it is the most profound message you will ever hear. It is joyful, it is miraculous and it changes lives and hearts and relationships and most importantly, it determines our eternal destiny.
It melts hatred and builds bridges that brings people of all backgrounds and races together in love and understanding. The love of Jesus changes things. But it must be accepted, shared, and given away to each other without any strings attached whatsoever. That kind of love will set us free!
This Little Child Born in Bethlehem
This little Child born in Bethlehem has the power to change the coldest heart, heal the worst addiction and give inner peace to the weakest and the strongest among us.
The little Child born in the manger created the universe and He has the power to forgive our sins. Your sins, my sins, everyone’s sins.
He is waiting for you to acknowledge Him, accept Him, follow Him, trust Him, love Him, believe in Him. For He is the Everlasting and He loves you and me.
But He is also righteous and holy and one day every knee will bow to our Lord and Savior, who was born in a manger but who has the power to change the hearts of men and women who call upon His name.
Three Responses to Christ Then and Now:
There were three responses to the Christ Child when He was born and there are still three responses today. Opposition, disinterest and worship. The first two responses will lead to spiritual decay and eternity without God. Only the third response will lead to eternity spent with God.
Today is the perfect day to humble yourselves and repent of your sins. You know you have them. We all do.
And it does not matter how bad your situation looks, for He is our great Healer and Redeemer. Trust Him. He will never fail you. This little Child born to the Virgin Mary is the Light of the world and the great I AM.
One day every knee shall bow,
Things Are Changing So Fast
This is an incredible time to be alive. As believers, we look past the craziness that has hit every aspect of our human existence, we know our Lord God Almighty is still in control and we continue to praise Him.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. (Psalm 100)
Through it all, prophecy is unfolding, souls are being saved, Christians are encouraging each other and the church is still strong regardless of the “falling away.” (The Great Apostasy) False teachers are on the increase, while many pastors preach feel good sermons.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Through the social and political messes, the insults, the anger, the confusion, the corruption, the violence, the hatred and it goes on and on, but, like so many, my thankfulness and trust still grows daily in Jesus Christ.
I Have So Much to Be Thankful For
*****I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for every day so I can humbly and respectfully praise Him and give Him all the glory for all the opportunities Christians have to share the Gospel in a fallen world.
*****Thank You Jesus for the love and the compassion and the kindness and the steadfast commitment that so many have in lifting others up in Your name.
*****Thank You Jesus for the encouragement You give Your followers to proclaim your Name, even when they face certain death in doing so.
*****Thank You Jesus for Your Gospel that has not and cannot be stopped by the evil one.
*****Thank You Jesus for the strength you give us just when we need it and in the exact way we need it. My strength comes from You! I love You, I serve You, I adore You, and I stand on Your every word. You are God’s gift to us so that our sins are forgiven as we repent of our sins to an all knowing and all powerful, omnipotent and omnipresent God. In Your name I pray all things.
*****Thank You Jesus for caring about every aspect of my life no matter how big and no matter how small. Thank You that You are a God that is knowable and merciful and just.
*****Thank you Jesus for my true friends and family. Thank you for bringing sincere Christians into my life who lift others up in Your blessed name.
*****Thank you Lord for my blessings, as I look past personal problems and anxieties and focus on your blessings! The problems will still be there but we have the promises of God to get us through them. With God all things are possible.
…But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
If you are thankful, let it be known to God and those around you. It opens the heart to better hear and understand the word of God. And if you do not know Jesus Christ, this is the perfect time, right now, to ask Him to take control of your life and humbly repent of your sins and acknowledge that He is holy and righteous, and the only way to salvation. No sin or sins is too great not to be forgiven by Jesus Christ. Please don’t delay for we are not promised another moment or another day. Do you really want to call Jesus a liar?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now you know Him and have seen Him. (John 14:6-7)
For His glory,
Beware, Satan is the liar of all liars and deception is his secret weapon. He started telling lies in the Garden of Eden. He is the master of confusion and deceit. He is dangerous and he will not be stopped until Jesus Christ comes back.
But before we go on let’s look at some of the Biblical names for Satan. Of course there is Satan – which means adversary, the devil – which means slanderer. Then there is the wicked one, the evil one, a roaring lion, the god of this age, Abaddon and Apollyon which mean destroyer. Then there is murderer, father of lies, the prince of this world. A dragon. Well, you get the idea. Spending eternity with Satan would certainly be pure hell. And spending time with him in this world will lead ultimately to hell…forever. This is nothing to be taken lightly. Our world makes him look harmless, laughs at him, imitates him, make jokes about him but make no mistake, he is a destroyer and he wants to devour you and me, and everybody else. Jesus is the one and only answer!
Satan a Roaring Lion
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Paul Said Satan was the god of this Age
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Jesus Called Satan the Wicked One
“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart…” (Matthew 13:18-19)
Jesus Called Satan a Murderer and the Father of Lies
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. (John 8:42:47)
Abaddon and Apollyon
And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. (Revelation 9:11)
Let’s look at Satan’s lie to Eve and how that lie encouraged Eve to be disobedient to God. He knows so well how to tempt but God always gives us a way of escape if we are obedient.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ “
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Eve gave into temptation, even though she knew eating from that particular tree was forbidden by God. Satan’s lies are the same today but just repackaged for our culture and times. We can all look at our own lives and see where Satan has done considerable damage. Pride, self-absorption, self- hatred, self-promotion, self-exaltation and the “self” list goes on and on. When we get too wrapped up in self, instead of focusing on our blessings, we will be be disobedient to God.
We desperately need discernment from the Holy Spirit, strength in Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s word, the Holy Bible, on a daily basis. Otherwise we are more susceptible to Satan’s lies about ourselves and others.
Satan always wants us to leave God out of our plans, out of our daily lives, and out of our relationships with each other. He constantly works to create doubts and confusion through lies and temptations.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
If you do not have a relationship with our Lord God Almighty, pray this very moment to Him and talk to Him about your sins and repent of them now. He is waiting for you to humble yourself and turn your life over to Him. He has given us His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us and to give us a new birth. A new beginning, a new life, and the promise of eternal life. Nothing you have done is so bad that it is out of His reach of forgiveness. Nothing! And if you think you are a good person who does not need a Savior, please, think again as you are wrong. Jesus paid it all on the cross and all you have to do is accept that in faith and know that He will never leave you. Don’t take a chance on leaving this earth without salvation, found only in Jesus Christ.
To God be the Glory forever and ever,
Jesus Sets Us Free
Tommy was one of my dearest friends and he has now seen the face of Jesus. Tommy went to be with the Lord on February 25th, 2017. I miss him so much. Every single day.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
We all know what it is like to lose someone we love and hold dear. We all know the tears and the broken heart that goes on and on and seems like it will never heal. But, of course, it will and it does. By the grace of God, we continue on, knowing that the day will come when we see them again in the presence of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt in my mind where Tommy is and I stand back in awe knowing that he has seen the face of Jesus Christ and he has looked into His eyes and that Tommy is alive like never before. The pain is gone and his incredible struggle is over.
Faith and Courage
He fought cancer with faith and courage, like so many have done and will do. He did it with grace and humor and, yes, with a great deal of heartache. But mostly he did it with Jesus! I watched his wife stand by him and care give day after day. I saw her weep and then find her courage again and again and again. When you go through the daily struggle of an illness with someone, you change. You feel the agony and you praise the Lord for all the good, and you take a stand with another human being and make it clear that you are on their side. You are with them day in and day out. That is when either the best or the worst comes out in you.
Oh, there were days when I look back and think only if I had been a little kinder or took more time to talk with him a little longer on a particular day. One day I was taking him to treatment and we talked about everything all the time, but he was very intent on telling me that he just knew that Jesus was going to heal him. He just knew it. He said it with such passion and I knew he believed it. I wish I had said, Tommy, Jesus honors you for believing that no matter what and He can heal you at any point and time. But I did not say anything. I was so tired and so sad that day and I knew he was slipping away from us all day by day. If only I had that moment back again. But thanks be to God, I have really learned recently that we must give all of our “if only’s” to Jesus and not take them back again. It is not spiritually healthy to carry them and hang on to them and relive them and nourish them back to life. Let them go.
Complete and Total Healing
Tommy was unique to say the least. He was a former Police Sgt. and he was tough. He had a right to be. He had seen a few things he wished he hadn’t seen, and carried too much pain deep in his heart. But this is the side of Tommy that I knew the most. He loved Jesus! And he really did fulfill the Great Commission. He talked about Jesus to everyone and anyone who would listen. He encouraged so many people, quietly, and without fanfare, he simply spoke gently to others about where to turn – Jesus alone. He has now experienced complete and total healing. We miss you Tommy, but how glorious it is that you are with Jesus!!
Jesus reigns, Amen
AT THE MENTION OF HIS NAME:
How extraordinary! Every knee shall bow. Think of it. That includes you and me, as well as Epiphanies, King Saul, Hitler, Nero, Elvis, the June Taylor Dancers, all believers, all nonbelievers…. well, it is suffice to say every human being that has ever walked the earth, past, present and future. Everyone will one day bow to the risen Christ, Messiah, Lord and King. Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Scientologist, Hara Christmas, Mormon, Atheist, rich, poor, powerful, weak, and the list goes on and on til it describes everyone.
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
DON’T WAIT TO BE CONDEMNED AT JUDGEMENT:
So what does that mean exactly? If someone is not willing to bow his or her heart to Jesus Christ while he or she is living, will they really want to bow their knee to Christ when that day comes when we all bow down? Probably not. Does that matter at all? No. Every knee will still bow regardless. And, of course, it makes perfect sense to start that worship while we are here on earth. To give ourselves to Christ completely and follow Him whether we go down roads of persecution, times of being hated, or simply living in a world where Christians are ridiculed. None of that stops our conviction, our witness, nor our love and devotion to Jesus Christ. If we bow now to Christ, while we are on this earth, we will bow before Him saved, but if we wait to bow before Him without salvation, we will be condemned at judgment. So I encourage you to surrender your will to Jesus and accept the fact that He died for our sins. And believe His Words…
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 16:4)
IT’S A DELIBERATE DECISION TO FOLLOW CHRIST OUR LORD:
The deliberate decision to follow the Messiah, the Christ can be decided this very minute. Accept the gift of salvation, repent of your sins with a sincere heart and then start reading the Bible, and then get into a strong Bible teaching church. Enjoy the fellowship of fellow believers who are sincere in their faith. You will learn and grow and develop a lasting relationship with Jesus. You will hear the truth from the Holy Spirit. Then when you bow before Christ you will already know what it is to follow Him and love Him. There will be no condemnation.
The Shepherds on the Day Christ was Born
The angel of the Lord visited shepherds in the fields when Christ was born, not the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, or the Scribes and certainly not any earthly king, or anyone else with high social or religious prestige. It was the humble shepherds in the field that the angels invited to go see the new born Christ, the Lamb of God. The Pharisees and other religious leaders should have recognized the Christ but it was the shepherds who recognized Him and believed.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12) NKJV
The Shepherds Carried the Good News:
After the angels left them, the shepherds hurried to see Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child who was lying in a manger. When they saw Him, they immediately began to spread the Good News.
Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them. (Luke 2:17-20) NKJV
A Good Shepherd Must Have Good Character:
A good shepherd had to have good and strong character. They had to always protect their flock from all harm, which includes wild animals, robbers, illnesses and sheep simply wandering away. They had to find green pastures and water no matter what the weather, and neither one was in great supply. They had to always nourish their flock no matter what.
They never wanted to lose even one sheep that had been intrusted to them. They more than likely had to stay awake long hours. But they were dedicated to the sheep they were in charge of. And they had to be focused and caring and willing to ignore their own personal comforts for the benefit of their flock. Many times they would lie down at the entrance of the sheepfold so no one and no animal could get to the sheep to cause them harm. These are the men that the angel of the Lord visited. These are the men that the angels invited to see the New Born King! That must have certainly confounded the Pharisees and other religious leaders.
Remember this Christ Child is Our Lord and Savior:
Let us remember that this new Baby changed the world. He was crucified for our sins. He rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of God. He is the Creator of the universe, God in the flesh. The Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End. He came to us as a humble Baby and He will come back as a Lion to judge the living and the dead.
If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I tell you the time is growing short. You have no idea how long you will have to make the decision for eternal life. Not one of us is promised another moment. Please reach out to Him and humbly ask Him to forgive your sins and surrender your heart to Him completely. Use whatever words you like but please do not delay. He will not refuse you and you will have eternal life and will not be separated from our Lord God Almighty forever. Then find a sound Bible teaching church and connect with other Christians who can help you along the way.
In Christ alone,
Arief From Indonesia:
There are approximately 25 to 30 million plus Christians in Indonesia. It has the second largest Christian population in Southeast Asia. And it has the 4th largest Christian population in Asia. Indonesia also has the largest Muslim population in the world. It is ranked #43 on the World Watch list of countries where Christians are being persecuted.
I am honored to interview Arief, my friend and our devoted brother in Christ, who was born and still lives in Indonesia.
1 – Arief, hello and what an honor to interview you. First, can you tell us how you first came to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?
Hello Lynn. The honor is mine. My parents sent me to Christian schools since Grade 1. There I have learned about Christianity. I have not accepted Jesus until one day I learned that God really answered prayer.
I was in Guangzhou, China when that happened. We have been praying to God for a clear weather for almost two months. This was for a BBQ party. A clear weather for a BBQ party! Small request and insignificant, right?
The rainy season during that time was very wet. You can expect the rain for a week nonstop. And this was the case.
Our BBQ party was in the middle of the week. The morning of BBQ day, it was still raining. I thought we might have to cancel the BBQ party. But suddenly, approaching the hour, the rain started to drizzle and then stopped. It stopped for the whole 3 hours we had our BBQ. Then it started to rain again for another 3 days until I see the sun again.
That was the moment I believed in God.
2 – Are all of your family members believers?
My parents, brothers, and sister are all Christians. Thank God.
3 – On an average day, do you see persecutions around you of individuals, or the church, and have you ever faced the possibility of persecution for being a Christian
Living in the big capital city, I don’t see direct persecutions. But I was in the city when some years ago some of the churches were bombed. Remote areas are more prone to these persecutions. I have read that churches now are being closed because of the pressure of some groups
4 – Why do you think that Christians around the world seem to have such a strong, unshakable faith while so many here in America seem to take their faith for granted?
I don’t know in America, though. I have the pleasure to witness how strong Christians are in China. They have it harder than me. The Chinese Government put a strong censorship on churches. Government agents are always present there.
So I think this is the true characteristic of Christianity. If being persecuted, they will grow stronger.
Have it easy, they will grow weaker.
5 – I know you love to read our Holy Bible, the infallible Word of God. Is there a scripture, or a person in the Old Testament or New Testament, who has particularly encouraged you while you were going through trials in your life?
There are too many to mention. David who sins, Moses who is tired, Ruth who follows her mother in law, Jesus who afraid, eats, tired, etc.
With verses too. But I will mention “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” here. (Hebrews 13:5)
6 – How important is prayer and repentance in your daily walk with Christ?
I know that these are important for Christians. I am still struggling with sins every day. Lucky for me (or is it?) that Jesus is willing to accept me. I actually do not believe in luck. I was chosen because it is God’s privilege. I was chosen even before the beginning of time.
7 – Do you still see that God’s mercies are new every single day of your life? Can you share a few with us?
Oh yes! I see mercies every day:
I still have food to eat.
I can go to church.
I have work.
I can share my resources with other.
My daughter is growing and healthy.
Our President is Joko Widodo.
Our Governor is Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
Those are some mercies that I can share. There are plenty where they came from.
8 – If you could ask our holy, omnipotent, omnipresent God one question, right now, today, what would you ask Him?
Why me? Out of millions of His children, why me?
9 – How has your faith grown and become stronger in a world that is not always tolerant of Christians?
It is a roller coaster. Some days I ask where is God, while some other days I will give thanks for his preservations. I learn new things every day.
10 – What would you like to share with others regarding how Jesus Christ has changed your life? And how He can change their lives too.
Read the Bible. It is a love story. I couldn’t help to cry, to cheer, and to laugh at the story. It is because I can relate to the story.
Jesus has changed me because I’m willing to know more of Him (by reading the Bible).
You can find Arief at several of his websites. 2 in Bahasa Indonesia and 2 in English.
MeForChrist.blogspot.com is a blog where I share what I think. Usually through a Christianity perspective.
BeShaved.com is talking about shaving, my newly acquired hobby. Yes, shaving can be a hobby.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my story.
Thank you so much Arief!
May our Lord God protect and bless you and your family, and may we grow stronger in our faith each new day. You and your family are in my prayers daily and I ask other Christians around the world to pray for you also. Please pray for us also.
In Christ, to Him be the glory forever,