March 14, 2012
For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth. ~ 3 John 7-8, NLT
Last night, I heard a passionate message about standing firm against Islam from an pastor from Uganda. He had been raised as a Muslim and converted to Christanity twenty years ago. He was nearly killed in his home a few months ago byMuslims in his hometown. He spoke of the Islamic agenda of world domination and said that the Islamic strategy is bold intimidation in the face of opposition to this goal. Bold to the point of killing and dying to contribute to the advancement of the goal of dominating the world.
The pastor posited that the Islamic agenda can only be advanced and accomplished when the church remains quiet… and when the church compromises on its’ belief, the battle has already been lost. The pastor insisted his listeners return home and stand boldly against Islam as the spirit of the antichrist.
I went to bed thinking about this message, particularly a question one of the congregation members asked: “I live in Brooklyn, NY near a mosque and they’re always outside with their signs. I know I need to pray on this, but how do I stand bold against Islam in Brooklyn?”
The question was asked with much passion. And it disturbed me with an even greater passion. The pastor’s testimony was heartbreaking and provoking, however (compassion aside) I was more stirred by the reaction to his message. When people are riled they do not differentiate between a religion and the people who practice a religion. The Brooklyn man expressed concern for his family’s safety while living in such proximity to a mosque, but I didn’t hear any concern for the Muslim families themselves for living in such proximity to non-Muslims. This is where I think we fracture ourselves in the body of Christ: we begin to look at ourselves and our immediate community (family) as separate from the greater community (city, nation, world) because “they” don’t look like us, think like us, believe like us; therefore, they can’t possibly be created like us.
Of all the cities in America, I would least expect New York to be antagonistic towards any particular group of people. Unfortunately, the City is showing itself to be a great antagonistic intimidator of the Muslim community both politically and socially.
I don’t like pulling all my cards, but they do work well for illustrative purposes. As a black Christian woman, I look at persecution anywhere from three historic perspectives: black American struggle towards citizenship and equal rights; the ongoing feminine struggle to own ourselves, our identity and our bodies and to be heard in our communities; and the power and controversy of Jesus Christ as a man, prophet, and the one and only sacrificial Son of God. All hated, persecuted and mistreated minorities historically. Throughout history, each part of me has needed someone to speak up for my benefit. I needed help. I needed validation. What I know from my own personal demographics is that when a population is marginalized, sub-human treatment soon follows. When a population is no longer seen as having equal creation and living status as the person judging them less worthy, then atrocities will soon follow.
My dear friend, do not follow what is bad; follow what is good. The one who does good belongs to God. But the one who does evil has never known God. ~ 3John 11, NCV
I received a case from the homeless clinic I volunteer for. During the first few hours of getting to know the young woman I was assigned to help, she asked me something along the line of, “Can you see God in me?”
“Yes,” I replied immediately.
“How can you be so certain,” she asked with a curious smile.
“I look for God in everyone.”
“Yes. If didn’t see God in you, I wouldn’t be here with you. There have only been a few times I have been unable to see any good in anyone – I steer clear of those people.”
“Because if I can’t see God in them, they have nothing for me and I have nothing they will receive. God takes care of me and He has brought me a long way. I know He will not allow anyone to enter my life who will damage the work He has done in me. Knowing that, I go where He sends me and help those He sends to me.”
“Yes, like you.”
Examples of the spirit of the antichrist
In its most basic form, the antichrist is a spirit of selfishness. This spirit works to keep those in its grip blind, ignorant and to themselves. Asleep. Unaware. Disinterested in the plight of their neighbor. The antichrist is not a religion as much as it’s a way of life… or rather, a way towards death.
Jesus Christ’s spirit is one of giving. Christ’s Holy Spirit is selfless, helpful and a comfort to the believer. The Holy Spirit is life.
The antichrist divides and separates.
Christ built a community – a body of believers sent to share his message of love and life with the world.
The antichrist spreads fear and hate.
Christ is love.
The antichrist is an antagonistic hoarder – it wants everything for itself.
Christ is generous – laying down His life for His friends. Giving life to those who invite Him into their hearts. However, Christ can only dwell in a heart that is not inhabited by His enemy, the spirit of the antichrist.
Don’t be fooled by the “threat” of Islam, the threat of “them”, the threat of “others”, or the threat of anyone who isn’t us. The antichrist isn’t hiding in religion or the unknown as much as he’s hiding in us – the body of Christ. What are you giving of yourself? What are you keeping to yourself? Have you surrendered yourself completely to God? Or have you held back and allowed the enemy of God squatting rights in your heart and mind?
I truly and deeply believe that I don’t need to know about any “threat” in the world as much as I need to know that I have the Holy Spirit of God housed within me. The same is true for you! With this power, this light and glory we can face the enemy of Christ with a gentleness, a patience, and a strength that infiltrates, weakens, and crumbles the hold of the antichrist on the people within our life-circles – family friends, neighbors, community members, co-workers, etc.
Christ stands in the gap between Believers and God as an intercessor – a bridge to bring us back into the presence of our Creator. Christ is our example of how we can stand in the gap between non-believers and God so that through the foundation Christ has already laid, we have a way to bring those who love the darkness into the life-saving and grace-giving light of God’s Kingdom.
The antichrist widens the gap and attempts to throw all of mankind, his enemies, into its abyss. With as much effort as you resist the enemy for the sake of your soul, also help your neighbor resist in the saving of their soul.
May God richly bless you in your walk and make you a greater blessing to others around you. Peace be unto you.
My dear children, these are the last days. You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming, and now many enemies of Christ are already here. This is how we know that these are the last days. These enemies of Christ were in our fellowship, but they left us. They never really belonged to us; if they had been a part of us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, and this shows that none of them really belonged to us.
You have the gift that the Holy One gave you, so you all know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth but because you do know the truth. And you know that no lie comes from the truth.
Who is the liar? It is the person who does not accept Jesus as the Christ. This is the enemy of Christ: the person who does not accept the Father and his Son. Whoever does not accept the Son does not have the Father. But whoever confesses the Son has the Father, too.
Be sure you continue to follow the teaching you heard from the beginning. If you continue to follow what you heard from the beginning, you will stay in the Son and in the Father. And this is what the Son promised to us—life forever.
I am writing this letter about those people who are trying to lead you the wrong way. Christ gave you a special gift that is still in you, so you do not need any other teacher. His gift teaches you about everything, and it is true, not false. So continue to live in Christ, as his gift taught you.
Yes, my dear children, live in him so that when Christ comes back, we can be without fear and not be ashamed in his presence. Since you know that Christ is righteous, you know that all who do right are God’s children. ~ 1 John 2:18-29, NCV