FREEDOM: of WORSHIP or RELIGION?
The Word of God has suffered at the hands of many a tyrant who has tried to destroy it. Pagan kings of Israel/Judah had tried to wipe it out...but could not. After the period of Christ's Ministry, the persecution of the Church began in earnest as Christianity spread to the western world.
The Indestructible Book still could not be stopped. The Jews preserved the aging Hebrew manuscripts when the 72 scholars translated, what we call the Old Testament, into Greek less than 2400 years ago in Alexandria, Egypt. The early Christians used this Greek translation of the "Old Testament" (called the Septuagint) as the basis of our Faith. Most Christians spoke Greek in the new territories, hence the appearance of the letters and Gospels of the New Testaments in Greek.
Copies of some precious documents, especially the New Testament still exist. The earliest copy of the New Testament is from 150 AD and was written/copied over just decades after John the Revelator wrote the original gospel Book of John! Today, that which was preserved, is again under assault. If you wish to read about the Burning of Bibles by the religion of peace, which also burns down Christian churches and homes in their religion of peace middle eastern countries, CLICK HERE FOR A SHORT LIST. Just three years ago, US soldiers in Afghanistan were revealed to have burned Bibles sent from the US there, on orders from the High Command, after a news report from the Middle East TV Network Al Jazeera broke the story. Watch video here.
But we don't have to go far abroad to find instances of persecution of Christians in North America. Whether it is some school district banning six year olds from singing "God bless America"; or a leftist judge ruling that a teenage kid cannot wear his Christian Faith T-shirt to school or even Orange County, California shutting down a Bible Study in somebody's home....let me repeat that - INSIDE A COUPLE'S OWN HOME...it is happening now with rapid frequency in the United States.
FREEDOM OF WORSHIP VS FIRST AMENDMENT
CHRISTIAN MARTYRS FACE THE LIONS
There is an increasingly disturbing pattern by US State Department and others in power, both here and in the United Nations, to refer more to the "Freedom of Worship" and never mention "Freedom of Religion"....even in countries where Christians are persecuted.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".
There is a reason that phrase is used (Freedom of Worship). The communist Chinese have official state churches there, which is not the true bible-based underground church, where over 300 million Christians live in Faith. In an official church with officially sanctioned Bibles etc, attendees keep their religion or whatever they are practicing within the four walls of that church.
Freedom of Worship also implies manipulation. Freedom of Worship means they tell you how to worship and when. Freedom of Worship means one day, you will be called upon to compromise what little faith you may have for the greater good of the state. Freedom of Worship also implies that the Body of Christ is not supposed to be under His Great Commission, to "go and make disciples of all the world", but that human mandates and laws supersede and are more important than the Savior!
Freedom of Religion is the choice to choose to follow Christ or go the other way onto a 12 lane highway, leading away from Him. Freedom of Religion is absolutely what this country was founded on and has function as, based on Christian Principles since the Pilgrims Landed. This experiment is the only one like it ever in human history, and only worked because it was based on the Word of God, which man has tried to trample on for centuries.
This is what is beginning in America. From the moment Eve bought the lie of the Serpent in Genesis 3, man has tried to put his theories above the Will of God. Nothing has changed and it will not stop until the Return of Christ to reign with His saints.
So Father in the Name of Jesus, I pray, oh God that YOU, our Heavenly Father, seal Your Word in our hearts. I pray that the Holy Scriptures, which many have lost their lives defending - including Your Son - be sealed in our hearts. That means, that You give us the ability and drive and willingness to read it, study it, devour it, share it, pray it and believe it and then hide the entire Word in our hearts that a. we will not sin against You and b. that NO ONE can take it from our hearts, mind, body and soul...in these evil last days.
I thank You for the Freedom to both worship You and to practice this Great Grace called Christianity for over 400 years as America has been the world's greatest body of missionaries to the world. Because You have blessed this land, more food - physical and spiritual in the form of flooding the global mission field - has left this country to go around the earth, than any other country in history. Now we have become a mission field ourselves, in need of spiritual rejuvenation as we have both lost our way and allowed others to chip away at the Freedom You gave us in the Gospel.
Lord, I pray that the liberties and freedoms won by those who gave their lives creating and defending the country from 1776 onward, will stand by Your Grace and by Your Power. I pray into Your restraining Hands, those who wish to lead Your children astray by not just feeding them the false gospel of man, but who then proceed to take away spiritual bread and living water from the hungry and thirsty. I pray Great Grace upon America this day, and may You shine Your Mighty Face on her, from sea to shining sea, as we stand in the cause of Religious Liberty, in Jesus' Holy Name, amen.
(images by google)