Idols

“But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” — Genesis 3:4,5

“You shall have no other gods before me.” — Exodus 20:3

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” — Matthew 19:24

It was the very first sin. Our desire to be like God, knowing good and evil. Today, it still is still the very first sin and our most prominent one. We modern men really believe that we are gods. The Ten Commandments hold no demand upon us. Neither do the many other systems of ethics and law which guard us from ourselves. Nor do our parents. Nor do any authorities (who are as likely to be as blind as we are.) But God will not be mocked.

We ignore reality. Its imprimatur upon our actions is held at a distance by our inordinate wealth. We imagine that we determine our lives. We can be anything we choose to be. Let no one dare contradict our desires. They will be utterly destroyed. So it will be written. So it will be done. Our wealth shields us from the consequences of our insanity. Our courts only confirm our desires rather than discerning true justice. We cry for justice but have no idea what that means. Mercy — the core of true justice — no longer holds our hearts. But God will not be mocked.

We serve the god of wealth. For both rich or poor, the love of money is the focus of their lives: the rich to gain more; the poor to demand their share, deserved or not. In our obsession for things, we build bigger barns each day. This nation hoards so much wealth that we build storage places for all the extra goods we cannot hold within our households. How will all that extra stuff aid us in the coming revolution? But God will not be mocked.

We believe we are masters of our own fates and beholden to no one. We are discovering — as a nation wracked by riot and insurrection — that we were wrong. The forces of nature operate upon God’s pure laws of justice which do not and will not bend to the whims of man.

We walk upon quicksand and do not feel its grasping hold upon our legs. We do not even have the sense to be afraid when the Lord comes near. But the Lord will not be mocked. We will pay — individually and as a nation. We move towards a great reckoning. I fear for my children and grandchildren. The forces of evil are rampant, unforgiving, fierce and raging everywhere. They will consume every good in their path, debase any purity and rip apart any semblance of peace.

We think the great wars lay behind us. We are wrong. A great war approaches which will light raging fires in every nation. This nation will be consumed, house against house and brother against brother. Then, nation will rise against nation. No community will be spared. No family will be unscarred. Vast numbers of men will be brushed away as so much chaff blown away with the wind.

The cause and core of that war? The devil’s original lie: “You shall be like God…” Already, families are torn apart. Lives wasted in despair, drugs and suicide. The most innocent sacrificed to a false god filled with blood-lust for their lives, seeking to destroy the future even before they might live it.

Meanwhile mankind prances about in his wild dreams, unaware and unseeing the end toward which he blindly plunges. He plays god and seduces plagues upon his life. He has eyes but will not see the violence, devastation and horror of his ways.

And the poor and downtrodden go unheeded in their desperate need. Starving, they ask, “Who will save us?” Even now they turn to the wrong source of aid, looking to a bankrupt aristocracy of wealth when their souls should cry for grace: “Save us, saving Lord.”

Our hearts will break as all we loved here is torn apart. Where will we Christians find the grace to stand through this onslaught? We must look to the example of our Holy Mother Mary who stood at the foot of the cross, grieving for her son. She held his broken body and wept for all of us. Yet she held faith in her heart, a faith which blossomed with the rising sun of that Easter morning. “He is risen!” How much that shout would mean to Mary, whose son was returned to her in greater form than she could have ever imagined. “He is risen, indeed.” He will wipe away every tear, for He has conquered death and brought us into eternal life.

So I tell you in the midst of this coming crisis, “Do not despair.” As Jesus promised us, we will face tribulation. It is coming. For many, it has already swept upon them. Yet, we stand in His strength, for Jesus has also promised, “Do not fear, for I have overcome the world.”

The darkness approaches and hungers for your soul. But, as Saint John the Beloved says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” That promise will brace believers to stand against the darkness with firm and faithful resolve. This is the last desperate thrust of the ruler of this world, who will make every attempt to destroy us and steal our souls. Stand firm in Christ and the evil one will fail. Jesus has already defeated him.

This is the time we have been called unto. Stand — by kneeling. Now is the time for greater prayer than we have ever ventured before. Fall on your knees. Pray with all the angels and saints. Pray along with the Roman Centurion, “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my [servant] soul shall be healed.” Pray the Our Father. Pray Hail Mary. Pray without ceasing. Pray for peace and guard for warfare. But pray.

Joseph Stringer writes and speaks on Christian issues in culture in the hope that we may realize transformation in our lives. Watch for his upcoming book, “God Came Down.” He prays that all who hear him or read his works might see through them to the One who has chosen us for life. Check out his blog at www.chosen4life.org

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The Carolina Compass is designed to appeal to the faithful as well as the seeker, giving historical windows into church life and showing the hands and feet of the faithful doing good works in their communities. We shall also shine a light on worldwide persecution of Christians and how we can support the faithful. A wide variety of perspectives on faith, mission work and healing will be inside the paper. Christian correspondents come from all over the globe and up and down our coast.
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