A passionate young preacher at our church had this to say last Sunday: “I am Presbyterian to my bones. We are called the Frozen Chosen. It’s much more about the frozen than the chosen. I’ll say that.”

It was not so much a theological statement as an astute observation of the state of Presbyterians who sit frozen in the pews while our “apostate Christian culture” gains momentum in its downhill slide. It actually applies on a national, even global scale. To borrow a political acronym, there are too many CINO’s—Christians in name only. And there are too many Christians huddled in Benedict Option enclaves just trying to survive with their faith intact as godlessness runs rampant through the culture.

Rod Dreher’s best seller with that title a few years ago was absolutely prophetic in hindsight. A key aspect of Benedict’s survival method in the dark ages was monks who were out among society during the day, returning to the refuge of the monastery at the end of the day for rest, refreshment mutual support and corporate worship. A gospel-preaching church today can provide a semblance of the refuge, but the modern dilemma is a God-mocking working culture that increasingly demands accommodation, whose hatred of Christians is merely stoked by a “winsome witness.” Such can cost you a job, and God’s Word quoted in the public square can be adjudicated hate speech. Two days before Christmas a pro-life activist was arrested for silently praying outside a UK abortion clinic—a “thought crime.”

In my working years I had a large picture of an F-15 going straight up framed on my office wall and at the bottom were the words “they shall mount up with wings like eagles.” It meant nothing to anyone who did not know the rest of that powerful truth. If a client fixed his gaze on it for more than two seconds, he heard the rest of it from me: “…  but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31). That could get me fired today. Nonetheless it’s eternal truth.

Nonetheless the Light of the World shined in extraordinary fashion in the midst of catastrophe this past week, as sportscaster Dan Orlovsky laid a seven-figure salary on the line and extemporaneously, passionately prayed to God for the life of a football player, whose heart stopped twice on the field, before millions of TV viewers. God put some beautiful words on his lips. Thus far he has kept his job and been widely praised for his courage, a role model for all beleaguered Christians. Three days later the stricken player, Damar Hamlin, posted from ICU on social media, “The love has been overwhelming … keep praying for me.” Our Sovereign God reigns!

Jesus’ last words on this planet were “Go ye therefore …,” (Matthew 18:19) not “hunker down and weather the storm.” The disciples and the Apostle Paul took Jesus at his word in tougher times than we have known, and to world changing success, but at great, even ultimate cost, the first of a long line of Christian martyrs. This year of our Lord 2023 will be a year to try men’s souls. Jesus said, “ … whoever denies me, I also will deny before my father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). Would you deny Christ and forfeit eternal life to keep your job? To avoid incarceration? Would you stand with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:16-18) or opt for the deferred fiery pit forever? Are you prepared to be a martyr for Christ? Do you dare NOT? 

Keep praying, put on the whole armor of God and stand, Christian. Victory looms. Eternal glory with our Lord and Savior is guaranteed.

“I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year with thee, O Father, as my harbor, thee O Son, at my helm, thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails. Guide me to heaven with my loins girt, my lamp burning, my ear open to thy calls, my heart full of love, my soul free.” (Puritan prayer from the Valley of Vision)

See you in church.


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