I have a confession. My name is Heather and I'm addicted to the Word.
Sometimes I just relish in the fascination of the privilege we have as free people to get to have and hold onto the Holy written Word of God! Why is this such a big deal? Well beyond the fact that the Bible is the most purchased and most controversial book ever to be recorded, modern-day persecution is still very real. It may not be as prevalent in American territory, but after doing some investigation...it's still a very real and astonishing epidemic:
According to an article by Fox News World, a study was conducted by the Center for Studies on New Religion in 2016 found:
- Christians continued to be the most persecuted group across the globe in 2016
- 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016
According to Open Doors USA:
- According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians).
- According to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
Let's let that sink in. We are among the minority 25% of the planet that is not considered severely religiously restrictive as America is still considered to be a Christian majority nation. Yet, in another article by Fox News U.S titled, "Discrimination of Christians in America"
"Some 63 percent of Americans agree that Christians are increasingly confronted with intolerance in America, according to a LifeWay Research study conducted via phone surveys in 2015."
My goal here is not to light a political debate or strike a match on feelings and opinions. I was just personally curious to find some cold, hard facts. Persecution is real. Oppression and discrimination among many races, religions, regions and personal value systems are real.
I'm simply suggesting to you that we not take for granted the freedom we've been given in our country and to encourage (put courage into) you to stay the course and stand strong and united as One Church under God because if we allow ourselves to become lukewarm, we run the risk of slow but steady violation of rights. It's been happening and will continue to happen as prophesied in the Bible. THAT is why, Dearest Friend, I want to charge you to get to know this ancient compilation of writings and letters and understand it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Get in the Word so the Word will get in YOU!
But MORE than knowing the Word, get into a deep, intimate relationship with the Author and Creator of the universe! Because the truth is, "all of the Bible is in God, but not all of God is in the Bible." In other words, read beyond the words, go on a journey to understand the context and the history and the HEART of our Father. As you know, there are false prophets and deceivers and they don't always roam around looking like big scary demons in the movies...The enemy is only able to successfully deceive when He uses tactics like he did on Eve in the Garen (Genesis) or like the crap he tried to pull on Jesus Himself. We can't run the risk of allowing the Deceiver, the Accuser of the Brethren, the Father of Lies to know the Word better than we do, right?
Don't just hold it in your hands, hold it in your heart! It's your sword, your weapon...not to be misused by slicing off the ears of our oppressors or to bash other Christians because they may differ in the gray areas of theology (because that would make us like Pharisaical hypocrites)...but rather, knowing how and when to wield our sword realizing that:
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. -Ephesians 6:12
But I get it. I get MANY messages from readers that Bible reading is a challenge. Some say it's hard to understand. Others say they don't get how it relates to modern life...I totally get it. You're not alone. It's not like I flew out of the womb with an addiction to the Word, it's become an insatiable thirst the more I get in, the deeper I want to go. I believe the same will be true for you.
If you're having a hard time understanding the value of the Bible or would like some tips, suggestions, assistance, etc. PLEASE reach out. It would be my HONOR to connect you with things that have REALLY helped me in my study and understanding.
- Find me on the YouVersion Bible App. (I talk more about this in Is it a PRAYER Problem or a PRAISE Problem &
- Send me a message. I'd love to connect!