Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hiding from man? or Hiding from God?

The following article was taken from The Hindu, India's National Newspaper

AT THEIR WITS’ END: Hounded out by communal elements and left to fend for themselves by the administration and police these hapless people are still scared to return to Barkhama village in Kandhamal district in Orissa.

BERHAMPUR: Several Christian families of Barkhama, a village badly hit by the recent outbreak of communal violence are still hiding in the nearby jungles and hills.

Two persons were killed and over 400 houses, besides some churches, were gutted there. One hundred and forty two homeless families are at the relief camps set up at Baliguda. The administration has urged all homeless victims of the communal violence to return to their villages.

According to Dadini, a victim of the violence, several families which fled Barkhama were hiding in the jungles within a range of six to seven kilometres from Baliguda.

Without food, water

Ludinga Digal, who had reached the Baliguda camp, had no news of his son and daughter-in-law. Digal said the people hiding in the jungle and hills were living without proper food and water since December 25.

Tejeswar Nayak, a college lecturer, alleged that he was getting threatening calls from unidentified persons because he had given shelter to pastors and the priests of ransacked churches and Christian establishments at Baliguda. Miscreants continued their threats to burn up his house as well.

Fr. Laxmikant Pradhan, parish priest of the ransacked Baliguda church, wondered how the victims of police and administrative negligence could return in a few days.

More patrolling sought

The local people wanted more patrolling by armed policemen. Suresh Kumar Panda, Additional Superintendent of Police of Kalahandi, who is now camping at Baliguda, said it might not be possible to increase patrolling in the area now.
With all that being said...
Why are you hiding in your house?
Our faith belongs out in the streets reaching the lost. Not holed out in the bunker of your comfy house. Today it is 1 degree above zero. Very cold wind chills. The temptation would be to stay in the house until spring arrives and then go out and talk to people. But as my sidebar shows, and please catch what I am saying, people continue to die. People everyday are dying and we sit comfortably in our lazyboy recliner sipping our pepsi and watching our TV shows. And all the while, people are dying outside. We are not being persecuted (although sometimes it seems we are), but in reality we are not. We have freedom to go and talk to people in the streets (at least for now!), so why are you not doing it. I'm talking to you. And to me. My goal is to physically talk to at least two people per day in an effort to give the gospel to them. What goal do you have? it's a new year. Some people want to lose weight. I have the perfect weight loss plan...
walk in the streets reaching the lost!
some people want to exercise more.
I have the perfect exercise plan...
get off your treadmill and walk out into the streets where the lost people are and give them the gospel!
Some people want to read a book a month.
I have the perfect reading plan...
Be the first book that people read. Present to them the Words of our Lord and Savior and let them know that He died for them!
Some people want to reach one person per month for the Lord.
I have a plan for them...
Read your Bible and understand that Jesus died for sinners like you and me. Understand that if we truly love God and we truly love our neighbors, we will not want to reach a total of 12 people (at least go for a Baker's Dozen of 13), no, we would want to be out each and every day reaching the lost. That is what obedience is all about. Obedience to God's Word says...
"Yes Lord, I will follow!"
"Yes Lord, I will repent!"
"Yes Lord, I will make disciples!"
"Yes Lord, not my will be done but Your will be done!"
What is His will?
Ephesians 1:9-10 tells us...
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him"
The people in the story are being threatened with their very lives because they are Christians. What about you? Where are you hiding? Is God looking down from heaven right now and seeing you cowering in a corner of your room because you are scared to talk to people about Him? Or is He seeing you going about your daily life with no thought whatsoever about Him and about sharing His Word? At least the person who is cowering in the corner is thinking about reaching the lost, he just hasn't gotten up the nerve yet. God can use him. God can give him the strength to do all things. But for the person who just goes about his daily life with no second thoughts about God and about reaching the lost, what kind of Christian do you suppose he really is? Which person best describes you?
cowering and scared but wanting to reach the lost?
boldly and bravely doing what you want with no thought of the lost?
These are important questions to ask yourself.
You know what is truly sad?
There are people reading this right now (maybe it is you!)...
And they say, wow, I need to do this. He is talking about me.
And tomorrow, that person will completely forget about this message and go on living their same old life. A life filled with everything the world has to offer but very little of what God offers. How much does the Word of God mean to you? You say it means the world to you? Then give up the world. Give up your fears about witnessing to others. Give up your reservations that you have about being hurt by family and friends. Give it all up for the great reward that awaits you. Give it up. Your sins. Your lifestyle. your selfish ways. Give it up.
Jesus warned: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:34-38)
Are you ashamed of Him. If you are not willing to reach the lost out of fear of what people will say to you, then think about this...
Am I scared because I won't know how to give an answer to them?
Am I scared because I do not want to offend anyone by mentioning the name of God?
I'm talking to you.
Where are you hiding? I am not God. But God knows where you are hiding and He knows WHY you are hiding. Get out from behind your tree. Repent of your sins. Acknowledge to God that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and you will proudly proclaim His Name to all nations and to all people.
Who are you hiding from?
is it Man? or is it God?
Come out now. Humble yourself before God and then lift your head up and see a dying world out there. Do what you can with what little time you have left on this earth. It is the greatest thing we can do next to praising and worshipping God.
We were created for His good pleasure and to glorify Him.
What better way to give Him pleasure and to glorify Him than to get out and reach the lost proclaiming the name of Jesus. It is time to gather the redeemed of the Lord together to fulfill the will of God in our life. That is our purpose (and you didn't even have to buy a book to learn this!!).
Hiding from man or hiding from God?
Are you living for men or living for God?
(I just hope that whoever brought these people to the Lord did not promise them that God had a wonderful plan for their life, what a sure way to create false converts who will run the minute there is persecution or any kind of problem. Will they be ready to count the cost of being a Christian? only way they will is if they realize how sinful they are in God's eyes and that they NEED a SAVIOR to save them!)
Reach the lost while there is still time!
Happy New Year and don't let another day go by without witnessing to someone!


j razz said...

Hi Brian,

I spent some time in Chandagarh, located in the Punjab state of India. While I was there several came to Christ and several did not like the fact that they did. One boy was badly beaten and left for dead when he told his parents of his coming to faith in Christ alone. They beat him and yet he would not deny. They beat him more and he would not deny the savior that bought him. They beat him until he could not walk, talk, or even make a move as he was unconscience and they threw him in a dumpster. When he came to, he was taken to us and subsequently to a hospital for treatment.

Stories like those are bittersweet. They encourage and yet sadden. They motivate and yet they give room for pause. We definitely do need to heed scripture and long for obedience that cries out for our savior, even under such persecution from our own families.

As for discipleship, I was thoroughly impressed with the local church's model there. If you became a Christian, they would not let you be baptised into the church until you spent a year living with another believer (and his/her family if there is family) and then they would baptise you into the church. When I asked them why such the delay in baptism, they said they want to keep the church healthy and this allows for great discipleship and also allows for them to know who really has been called of God to become one of His.

Something to think on; although I do not see how one can biblically withold baptism, I do understand their application. Although, I think that would be better served by excercising church discipline rather than witholding baptism.

j razz

pastorbrianculver said...

thanks for your input j razz! I appreciate it. I didn't know about the withholding of baptism. I agree, with you on that. I understand why they do it but I do not agree with them doing it. Really makes you think when it comes to what we here in america have to put up with doesn't it? Seems the worst we get is someone coming on our blog and calling us a name!

United in Christ said...

please keep me posted about the meeting !!!!

pastorbrianculver said...

I will let you know how it turns out. thanks for the prayers! have a safe trip this weekend!