What’s Behind the War on God?

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What’s Behind the War on God?

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Throughout history many have sought to comprehend the meaning and purpose of their existence. It is each person’s prerogative to pursue this transcendent aspiration so as to learn about, understand and worship one’s Creator.

Importantly, this fundamental right does not emanate from any human government but from God alone. Today there is widespread recognition that religious liberty is a basic human right (via United Nations Human Rights Council international agreements). Even so, many people are unable to fully exercise this vital privilege due to increasing persecution and constraint.

The freedom to worship and obey God is under attack in many nations. This is particularly true for those who profess Christianity. In some countries such attacks take the form of physical violence and even murder. In other nations it arises through censure, restrictions and intimidation by individuals, secular organizations and various government entities.

Indeed, a war on God is taking place in today’s world. You need to understand why this is happening and what Bible prophecy explains is ahead for all humanity. Although this problem affects people in many countries, for illustration purposes we’ll primarily focus on how the influence of God and His way of life is under attack in the United States in a major cultural shift. First, however, let’s examine briefly the legacy of Christianity in America.

The impact of the Bible and Christian values

History records that the Pilgrim settlers who voyaged to the New World from England in 1620 did so specifically seeking liberty to worship and obey God as they chose. Following the Pilgrims, other Christian groups of various denominations sought religious freedom when they landed on American shores.

The profound desire and longing to worship God as each individual desired was ultimately enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1787 with these words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .”

The impact of the Bible and Christian values was plainly evident in the lives of many of America’s founding fathers and early leaders who studied the Scriptures and worshipped their Maker and Sustainer. For example, James Madison, a key leader in the creation of the U.S. Constitution, wrote: “Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”

George Washington, the country’s first president under the Constitution, penned, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Even more recent national leaders expressed faith in and worship toward their Creator. For example, Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, stated: “Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic expression of Americanism. Thus, the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Religion a bedrock of American culture

Respect and honor given to God formed the bedrock of American culture. This provided major benefits to society for many generations. In 1996 the Heritage Foundation released a report titled “Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability.” Written by Patrick Fagan, Ph.D., a senior fellow and director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, the report, which is posted at the Heritage Foundation’s website, summarized findings described in professional social science literature about the positive consequences arising from religious devotion. It concluded:

“The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoers are more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage. Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.

“Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment. Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.

“The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.”

The Bible’s teachings profoundly effective for good

The Bible’s teachings have had a profound effect for good in America as well as Western civilization and the world. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37 Luke 10:30-37 [30] And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. [31] And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. [32] And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. [33] But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, [34] And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. [35] And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever you spend more, when I come again, I will repay you. [36] Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves? [37] And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do you likewise.
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) is a classic example. Not only is the story a part of cultural parlance, but it’s the foundation for many Western concepts and legislation about the duty of all human beings to offer compassion and assistance to needy individuals. Similarly, Christian principles played important and influential roles in ending or severely limiting the abominable practices of human sacrifice, infanticide and slavery.

In addition, Jesus’ teachings upholding sexual morality had a positive influence in society regarding the sanctity of marriage and in child rearing and family life. Additionally, Christian values strongly elevated the status of women by condemning extramarital sex, divorce, pornography and prostitution.

Throughout history individual Christians have made countless valuable contributions to human progress in a wide variety of fields including the sciences, health care, philanthropy, law, government, literature and business.

Paul Maier, writing the forward to the book How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt, Ph.D., said the following about how the values Jesus Christ taught had an enormous impact on humanity’s overall well-being: “No other religion, philosophy, teaching, nation, movement—whatever—has so changed the world for the better as Christianity has done. Its shortcomings, clearly conceded by this author, are nevertheless heavily outweighed by its benefits to all mankind.”

An atheist applauds Christian works

These benefits have been recognized and acknowledged even by those who do not profess any religious affinity. For example, Matthew Francis Parris, a South African political writer and self-proclaimed atheist, wrote the following on the TimesOnline website on Dec. 27, 2008:

“Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs [non-governmental organizations], government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do.

“In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good. I used to avoid this truth by applauding—as you can—the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it.”

Major changes affect society and culture

While individuals and families of previous generations have been aided significantly by their worship of and obedience to God, profound and disturbing changes have taken place over the past several decades. Institutions and individuals in the United States have been subjected to an increasing number of attacks and restrictions on their freedom to worship and obey God and proclaim Him and His Word to others.

For example, the Supreme Court ruled in 1962 that prayer in public school was unconstitutional. In 1963 it declared that public schools were to no longer allow the Bible to be read in classes. In 1973 the Supreme Court legalized abortion, which struck at the heart of the Sixth Commandment prohibiting murder. In 1980 the court ruled that posting the Ten Commandments in public schools violated the Constitution.

These and other court decisions effectively disallowed the teaching of moral values that a majority of faiths in the country recognized as proper and necessary.

Since then, pressure has been relentless to realign society from a religion-accommodating orientation to a secular, agnostic and even atheistic one. And this is having a decidedly negative effect. As a November 2015 Pew Research Center study pointed out: “The change in Americans’ religious beliefs coincides with the rising share of the U.S. public that is not affiliated with any religion. The unaffiliated not only make up a growing portion of the population, they also are growing increasingly secular, at least on some key measures of religious belief.”  

The same study also revealed that “the share of Americans who say they are ‘absolutely certain’ God exists has dropped sharply from 71% in 2007 to 63% in 2014.”

In addition, the report states: “The falloff in traditional religious beliefs and practices coincides with changes in the religious composition of the U.S. public. A growing share of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, including some who self-identify as atheists or agnostics as well as many who describe their religion as ‘nothing in particular.’ Altogether, the religiously unaffiliated (also called the “nones”) now account for 23% of the adult population, up from 16% in 2007.”

Social ills have seen a dramatic increase

Without the foundation of God and the Ten Commandments at work in people’s lives, it’s not surprising that the deleterious result is reflected in the popular culture. This is seen in people’s increasing appetite for illicit sex, pornography, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, and other evils. For instance, consider the following statistics published in December 2013 by the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, Inc., titled “The Effects of Removing Prayer and the Bible From the Schools in 1962”:

“Criminal arrest of teens is up 150% according to the US Bureau of Census; teen suicides in ages 15-19 years up 450% according to the National Center of Health Services; illegal drug activity is up 6,000% according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse; child abuse cases up 2,300% according to the US Department of Health and Human Services; divorce up 350% according to the US Department of Commerce.”

David Barton, founder of WallBuilders, an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history with an emphasis on its moral, religious and constitutional heritage, released a report in January 1997 titled “America: To Pray or Not to Pray.” Illustrated with more than 100 pages of graphs and statistical data, it showed that crime, venereal disease, premarital sex, illiteracy, suicide, drug use, public corruption and other social ills exhibited a dramatic increase after the 1962 Supreme Court decision banning school prayer.

Growing hostility toward God

What has been the result of turning away from God and the Bible? Beside the social afflictions just mentioned, American society is also paying a terrible price in a growing hostility toward God and His righteous ways.

A conflagration of animosity has emanated from private organizations, politicians, government agencies, school and university officials and teachers, militant atheist groups and the media. In the midst of this firestorm, dedicated Christian individuals and institutions, while clinging tightly to their beliefs, are experiencing increasing intolerance.

For example, the Family Research Council has issued a comprehensive report titled “Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States.” The initial report in 2014 revealed how religious freedom violations across the United States were high and increasing. An updated version in 2017 found that the number of incidents had grown at an alarming rate. “The first edition—spanning over a decade—contained 90 incidents. Yet 69 new incidents have been added in the short time since the last report. That is a 76 percent increase in just under three years.”

Increasing attacks on religious freedom

In addition, First Liberty Institute, a leading legal advocate for religious freedom and a close ally of the Family Policy Alliance, published a comprehensive 420-page report in 2017 titled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America.”

First Liberty’s president and chief counsel Kelly Shackelford, executive editor of the report, said in an interview with Bill Sherman of Tulsa World on May 5, 2017, “I’ve been doing this for over a quarter of a century, and I’ve never seen anything like the level of attacks on religious freedom that we’re seeing now.”

In speaking about the 418-page report, which includes more than 1,400 cases—a number that has doubled in the past three years—he said: “And those are just the published ones, so that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just exploding.”

In referring to the newest battleground, the workplace, Shackelford said, “It’s a priority for us now.” He further stated, “If you lose religious freedom in the workplace—that’s where most people spend most of their waking hours—then you’ve really lost religious freedom.”

In the public arena, which includes government and the workplace, religious individuals and groups are facing increasing demands to hide their faith or sacrifice their beliefs in order to keep their jobs and maintain their livelihoods. Here are headlines illustrating a small number of the hundreds of legal cases that have been or are being brought before the courts for litigation:

• Christian Counselor Fired for Referring Homosexual Clients to Other Counselors.

• Faith-Based Child Services Provider Denied Children Because of Religious Content.

• Kentucky Biblical Heritage Display Attacked as Unconstitutional.

• Lawsuit Challenges County Commissioners’ Prayers Referencing Jesus.

In the school system—from elementary through graduate school—students and teachers face professional, academic and personal duress for living out their faith. Below are sample cases among many hundreds:

• Public School Bans Bible Club in Name of Nondiscrimination.

• School Bans Instrumental Music Associated With a Religious Song.

• Christian Club Risks Being Kicked Off Campus Because It Wants Christian Leaders.

• Group Demands School Band Stop Playing “God Bless America.”

There are also numerous threats against churches and ministries where religious leaders are censored, churches are sued and ministers, priests and the laity are told they must violate their religious beliefs or face exorbitant fines. Here are a few of multiple dozens:

• Church Sues for Right to Expand Building.

• Ocean, New Jersey, Blocks Orthodox Jewish School.

• African-American Church Denied Permit to Use Church Building as a Church.

• Former Teacher Sues Catholic School for Holding to Catholic Beliefs.

In the military, chaplains and service members are increasingly being told that they cannot express their faith. Here are some example cases out of many that have been documented:

• ACLU Sues Virginia Military Institute Over Prayers Before Meals.

• Marine Court-Martialed for Refusing to Remove Bible Verse From Desk.

• Air Force Veteran Forcibly Removed From Retirement Ceremony for Mentioning God.

• Group Coerces Air Force Into Changing Official Oath Due to Reference to God.

Eroding the nation’s moral and ethical foundation

We’ve also seen a number of recent incidents in the news demonstrating clear prejudice toward those who hold tightly to their Christian beliefs. On April 12, 2018, Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s then-nominee for Secretary of State, faced an offensive line of questioning from U.S. Senator Cory Booker. The senator demanded to know if Pompeo opposed same-sex marriage and if he thought gay sex was perverse even though his views on marriage were unrelated to his intended position.

In questioning Pompeo, Senator Booker appeared to suggest that Pompeo’s Christian faith and religious beliefs made him unsuitable to be Secretary of State. Here is the line of questioning, which was repeated more than once:

Booker: “Is being gay a perversion?”

Pompeo: “Senator, when I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that.”

Booker: “So, you do not believe that it’s appropriate for two gay people to marry?”

Pompeo: “Senator, I continue to hold that view.”

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote about this exchange on Twitter: “Not satisfied with Pompeo’s pledge to treat everyone with respect and dignity, Sen. Booker demanded an endorsement of gay sex. Is this the Left’s new litmus test for public service?”

Similarly, on June 10, 2017, Senator Bernie Sanders treated Russ Vought with similar disdain in his confirmation hearing to be deputy director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Senator Sanders asked Vought, who is a Christian, if he stood by a past statement he had made about his beliefs. When he declined to deny it the senator reprimanded him.

It’s important to consider that it was only a few decades ago when a well-qualified, law-abiding person who professed Christianity and sought to promote the sanctity of marriage would have been welcomed into higher governmental office. But it’s completely different in today’s America as secular, cultural and political “progressives” actively seek to malign and even destroy such a person’s reputation.

We should recognize that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to practice their religion without criticism or intrusive restrictions.

Religious liberty is being threatened. Indeed there is a war on God taking place in America. God, who has greatly blessed the nation throughout previous centuries, is under attack. Indeed, a systematic effort is underway to expel Him and His commandments from the public square, which, as a result, is eroding the nation’s moral and ethical foundation.

We wrote previously of the war on God in America in the November-December 2014 issue of The Good News (available online). Clearly that war yet rages on.

No fear of God before their eyes

What does the future hold for America if this situation continues and prevails? Let’s examine what happened in ancient Israel when many of its people ceased honoring and obeying their Creator and Sustainer. While doing so let’s note that since God’s character does not change (Malachi 3:6 Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
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) and that “there is no partiality” with Him (Romans 2:11 Romans 2:11For there is no respect of persons with God.
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), His blessings for keeping His laws or enacting punishments for breaking them are universally applicable—and remain so today.

Although the prophet Amos was originally a sheepbreeder, God nevertheless sent him to give Israel’s people and leaders a prophetic warning during the reign of King Jeroboam II who ruled from about 782 to 753 B.C. Amos boldly and strongly proclaimed God’s divine message, which included the urgent need for people to repent of sin and return to Him (Amos 6:1-3 Amos 6:1-3 [1] Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! [2] Pass you to Calneh, and see; and from there go you to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border? [3] You that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
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).

Sadly, the people didn’t listen and had no interest in changing. Due to their prosperity and pleasure-seeking they had lulled themselves into a false sense of security (verses 4-6). The national mood was simply to ignore anything to do with a so-called “God.”

During Amos’ day, true religion had no purpose or meaning for many people. They were simply filled with pride, self-satisfaction and self-indulgence. And through Amos, God told them what He thought of their irresponsibility and what He was going to do to get their attention (verse 8). We see, then, that many in ancient Israel lived in a secular world of their own making and couldn’t have cared less about anything to do with God.

Is it much different in today’s society? Where is the love and deep respect for God and His righteous ways? What has happened to God-ordained morals and values?

God’s name is not treated with reverence, and His commandments are ignored or defied by an increasing number of people. The esteem for the God-created institution of marriage has nearly all but disintegrated. The God-ordained intent of sex within the bounds of a loving marriage relationship is often ridiculed. The tragic crime of abortion takes the lives of nearly a million innocent babies each year in the United States. Forty million Americans are regular visitors to pornographic Internet websites. The list could go on and on!

A growing number of people seem to think they can do almost anything without facing consequences. All this is indicative of the sorry state of our society. As the apostle Paul put it bluntly in Romans 3:18 Romans 3:18There is no fear of God before their eyes.
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, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

He also wrote in Romans 1:28 Romans 1:28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
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of those who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” This is so true of society today! Lawlessness is mounting, and many people casually partake of sinful ways while thinking it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal to God!

In the midst of the increasing corruption and degeneration in our culture, God is looking for those who will stand out from the crowd and do what is right. He seeks courageous, obedient, upright men and women (Ezekiel 9:4 Ezekiel 9:4And the LORD said to him, Go through the middle of the city, through the middle of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the middle thereof.
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). God will hear their prayers and cries just as He heard and answered those of the patriarchs, prophets and disciples of old.

The prophet Malachi delivered a decidedly unpleasant prophecy about the time immediately preceding the return of Christ. He explained that the unthinkable will happen: “‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that will leave them neither root nor branch’” (Malachi 4:1 Malachi 4:1For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yes, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
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).

While this terrible trouble will fall on the ungodly, Jesus Christ promised to make a way of escape for many of His faithful, obedient people (Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
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; Revelation 12:13-17 Revelation 12:13-17 [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. [14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. [15] And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. [16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. [17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
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).

What manner of persons ought you to be?

But we now live in a society where a growing number of people don’t want to be corrected for their disobedience and contempt toward God (Isaiah 30:9-11 Isaiah 30:9-11 [9] That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: [10] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits: [11] Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
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). And they ignore critical warnings—proclaimed by God’s Church—that could save their lives (see Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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; Ezekiel 33:4-5 Ezekiel 33:4-5 [4] Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be on his own head. [5] He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be on him. But he that takes warning shall deliver his soul.
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).

The systemic lawlessness and corruption occurring in the world is like the proverbial bulge in a rock wall—which has been there so long it’s been taken for granted and ignored. But the day is coming when that wall will collapse. “Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: ‘Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly in an instant’” (Isaiah 30:12-13 Isaiah 30:12-13 [12] Why thus said the Holy One of Israel, Because you despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: [13] Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly at an instant.
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, New International Version).

This is what awaits our society unless people turn to God in repentance and obedience. Sudden destruction will occur that will utterly shock the world’s citizens (1 Thessalonians 5:3 1 Thessalonians 5:3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
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). “Life as usual” will come to a crushing, grinding halt! The comfortable existence filled with the latest electronic devices, entertainment and pleasure will come crashing down! The wall of this man-made, Satan-influenced civilization will topple and crumble (see Ezekiel 5:12-15 Ezekiel 5:12-15 [12] A third part of you shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the middle of you: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. [13] Thus shall my anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest on them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. [14] Moreover I will make you waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about you, in the sight of all that pass by. [15] So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment to the nations that are round about you, when I shall execute judgments in you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.
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).

A time of punishment is approaching for God-denying, God-defying society. But thankfully, that will be followed by an amazing time of restoration after Jesus Christ installs His global Kingdom on earth at His second coming. At that time He will give His faithful saints awesome power and immortality, and they will help Him administer the government of God throughout the entire world.

God’s question for you and me

The terrible events prophesied in Scripture are certain to come on those who don’t change their ways. Even so, God has a vital question for you and me: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11 2 Peter 3:11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
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).

As mentioned earlier, in ancient times God looked for courageous, faithful men and women who would stand up for truth and righteousness.

He seeks the same now. And He can find them in you—if you faithfully do as He asks. God provides tremendous help and power through Jesus Christ to all those who love, respect and obey Him, even as the God-resisting society around us continues its reckless degeneration.

Human beings are destined to ultimately lose their self-destructive war on God. In the meantime, however, as we watch the attacks on Christian values in today’s society, let’s pray for a desperately needed reversal toward spiritual repentance and renewal. Indeed, the only answer is in turning wholeheartedly to God while seeking His divine forgiveness, strength and support.

He will provide this gladly to all who sincerely go to Him in humble repentance and obedience. Will you be one of these?

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