STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

RELGIOUS
LIBERTY
================
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free
indeed. John 8:36

Ron Boyd MacMillan is a perceptive communicator. He
writes for the next two
days:

As my plane touched down after a trip to
the Middle East, I breathed a big
sigh of relief. I was back where I did not have to watch my back, be careful
what I said, or where I went. Whew. I was
back in a country that had religious
freedom. I prayed to God, “Thank you for
the men and women who fought to bring
me this freedom. Thank God they
won.”

Then two incidents happened one after the other that made me think
again.

I was at an art exhibition and looking at a painting entitled, Man
startled on
a horse. I sought out the artist and said, “Was that the Apostle
Paul on the
Damascus road you were depicting?” I thought he would be pleased
I had figured
it out.

But he looked horrified, and glancing around he
hissed, “For goodness sake
keep quiet. Do you want me to get labeled as a
religious artist? I’d never
sell another painting if that
happened.”

Then I was talking to a priest in charge of a large church in
my city. His
church had just received a large sum of money from the state for
the
refurbishment of a church hall. Then he said, “Well, we had to sign
an
agreement that the church would be available for everyone of any religion,
and
that we would not try to convert anyone. But we were happy to do that. We
just
want to be a community resource.”

Suddenly I became aware that I
had to fight for religious liberty in my own
country. I had thought that
because certain toleration laws were in place, I
was safe.

But no, it
was clear from the artist that to admit one’s Christian faith in a
public
context was professional suicide.

How did my society suddenly get so
prejudiced?

And look at the priest blithely giving up his right to
evangelize, without a
thought to the long-term cost. Who was asking him to
refrain from
evangelizing? And how could he be so unaware of the freedom he
just signed
away?

RESPONSE: Today I will not assume that freedom is
automatic. I will stand up
for the truth of God’s Word and be truly
free.

PRAYER: Lord, may I never take the free expression of my faith for
granted.
Help me to understand the challenges that representing Your truth
will bring.

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