“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
–Hebrews 13:3 (NIV)
Today I want to share two stories that touched my heart, and I hope they will touch yours as well. After that, I would like to look at any possible applications they may have for us.
The first story is fiction, but it speaks loudly if we will allow it to talk to us. While I had heard shortened versions of this tale before, here is how it’s told by Michael Hartzell.

There once was a man who lived in a two-story house. The house was near a river, and unfortunately the river began to flood.
As the river rose, warnings were given via radio, TV and shortwave. Large jeeps drove through the area to evacuate people.
As a jeep drove by the man’s house, he was told, “You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You must evacuate. Get in the jeep. Let us help you evacuate.”
“No,” the man replied from his doorstep. “I have faith. I will be okay. The flood won’t get me. God will take care of me.”
The jeep drove away, and the water continued to rise. Soon the man was forced to go up to the second floor.
A boat was going through the area, and it arrived at the man’s house. Rescuers made every effort to convince the man to take action so that his life would be saved.
“You are in danger,” they said. “Your life is at stake. You will drown in the flood.”
“No worries,” said the man. “I have faith. Everything is okay. Even though the flood is rising, I will be fine. God will take care of me.”
The boat left, and the flood continued to rise. The man went to the roof to avoid the rising water.
A helicopter pilot saw him on the roof and hovered above the man. Using a megaphone, the pilot tried to convince the man to grab the rope ladder, which was dangling above his head.
“You are in danger. The flood is still rising. You will drown if you do not grab the rope ladder. Let us help you.”
“No worries,” said the man. “I will be fine. Yes, the flood is higher, but I have faith. God will take care of me.”
The helicopter flew away. The flood rose, and the man drowned.
At the pearly gates, the man said to God, “I had faith. You let me die.”
To which God replied, “I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter. What more could I have done for you?”

Like the man who ignored the flood warnings, are you and I ignoring the flood eroding our civil liberties?
In order to see what I mean, let’s examine the continuing saga of Jack Phillips. This is a true story about the baker who owns Masterpiece Cakes in Denver, Colorado. I believe this story leaves us with another unanswerable question that we can no longer ignore.

Jack Phillips was indicted for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple at their wedding reseption. He turned down this job because of his Christian belief that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. His case went before the Supreme Court, and the judges took months to decide the outcome. While Jack came out victorious, his troubles weren’t over yet.
Jack later refused to design a cake for a woman who was the recipient of a gender transplant. As a result, he was ushered before the Colorado Supreme Court. Again he squeaked by, but this time by a very narrow margin.
Now Mr. Phillips is embroiled in yet another lawsuit. In total, the court cases he has endured have taken over 8 years. His business has suffered, not to mention the cost of time and expenses.

I said earlier that this story leaves us with a question which we can only ponder, but seeing the clouds on the horizon, it has to be asked. While I am not an alarmist and I’m not making a declaration, I still must plunge right in.
Is it possible that we could be subject to Christian persecution in America at some point in time?
“No,” you may say, “we have lawyers protecting our freedoms, and America will never fall.”
If that’s your opinion, I won’t argue with you, but I will leave you with these thoughts. Many great empires have believed something similar.
For example, you might want to look up is the Babylonian Empire on Wikipedia. They had massive walls, and they thought that those walls were impregnable. Yet, while they were conquered from without, they first fell from within.
Finally, I have two more brief comments. Do what Jesus said, as far as always being on the alert. One scriptural example of this can be seen in the life of the prophet Daniel. When he knew it was almost time for his people to return from Babylon, he prayed and consulted regarding the future.
Secondly, allow what is happening all around us to shape your life. Ask God to give you a heart for all the brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for their faith. Let’s make a new decision that whatever the cost, we will follow Jesus more closely, because He paid an eternal price for us.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.