Living Today

Interesting articles from Christian teachers and leaders. Designed to help you as you follow Jesus!

Living out Faith in a Hostile World

Living out Faith in a Hostile World

You don’t have to look any further than the most recent headlines to see that we live in uncertain times. Many people think the world has never been more hostile to Christians than it is now, especially since the cancel culture continues to target people who aren’t seen as politically correct.

Being a Christian in a deeply secularised society is a growing challenge. Everyone’s truth seems to be accepted unless you’re a Christian. So how do we live out our faith in such a hostile world? With the escalation of wars and tensions all around us, persecution is becoming more common.

Berni Dymet leads the organisation Christianity Works, as well as hosting his radio program A Different Perspective.

God’s Word is Unchanging

‘People are happy to talk about Jesus,’ Berni says. ‘As long as there’s nothing about repentance. They want to believe that He loves everyone and was a great teacher. But the Bible has a lot to say about what’s right and wrong according to God. That hasn’t changed in several thousand years. What’s changed is our culture.’

Berni believes that the Christian voice is no longer an acceptable part of the narrative of our nation. Biblical Christianity is quite different from cultural Christianity. It costs something to be a true Christian, and we should not forget that. To be a normal Christian and to go to church is cheap and easy work.

‘But to hear Christ’s voice,’ says Berni, ‘and to believe and confess Him requires much self-denial. The Biblical Jesus is not a very popular figure these days. There’s been a very deliberate campaign, whether it be gender issues or sexuality issues, to shut down the Christian voice.’

Berni questions if Christians understand what it means to speak the love of Christ into that reality. We’ve seen in the last couple of censuses in Australia that secularisation is happening at a fast pace. It’s a very different environment. Most of us never imagined that we would one day have the world in our hands on a mobile device.

Facing Persecution

‘We as the church face a hostile environment,’ says Berni. ‘But we’re almost behaving like we still live in the good old days when everyone went to church. We are shocked that this is happening. But it’s not anything Jesus didn’t predict in the New Testament. So let’s not be surprised.’

There are many Christians being persecuted around the world for their faith. But by and large in the West, we have it pretty good. In Australia, our government changed in the last election and there were no soldiers on the streets with machine guns. There was no bloodshed.

‘We’re very blessed to have that sort of democracy,’ says Berni. ‘But I think we’ve been lulled into this sense that life should be comfortable. But let me tell you, as Christians, life is going to become less and less and less comfortable. It’s going to be harder to speak the things of God one on one or in public. Jesus said, if they persecuted me, they’re going to persecute you.’

Compassion and Love

The reality is that there are Pastor’s in countries like North Korea and India who are being killed in their churches. That’s a reality in this world. The question for us is, what do we do with our faith in the context of cancel culture, in the context of shutting down the Christian voice?

‘Each one of us who believes in Jesus needs to figure out a way still to be a Christian,’ says Berni. ‘To still believe the Bible, but to do it in love. I love what Francis Schaeffer once said. He said Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.’

As Christians, we can sometimes get this idea that our tribe has to win. But that’s not a biblical expression of the love of God. The greatest act in all of history was Jesus laying down His life for you and me. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world. He came to save the world.

‘If that was Jesus’ job’s description, maybe it’s ours too,’ says Berni. ‘I see a lot of Christians being tribalistic and condemning those sinners out there, rather than standing up for biblical truth. We should stand up for the good news of Jesus. But we can do it without beating people over the head.’

Blessed to be a Blessing

Blessed to be a Blessing

Numbers 6:24-26 says Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. If we could shrink the Earth’s population into a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be: 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the western hemisphere, both north and south, 8 Africans 52 females; 48 males 80 living in...

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When All Seems Lost

When All Seems Lost

Now what? That’s something that all of us have said to ourselves at one time or another. In his new message, ‘When All Seems Lost’, Pastor Jeff Vines covers the topics of marriage and keeping relationships strong. Jeff offers encouragement for those of us who are struggling with chaos and feeling lost. God does not give His law arbitrarily. When God tells us He wants us to live in certain parameters and by certain precepts, He does it because He loves us. If He’s the creator and sustainer of...

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Compassion and Action

Compassion and Action

The crewmembers on board Logos Hope all left their homes at one point to come on board the ship to live and work together with others from around the world. They exchanged their familiar environments for a very unique accommodation – a ship – which sooner or later they also call their home for a specific amount of time. They all do know though, that there are many people in the world, who are longing for a place to stay in which they can experience peace and safety. The refugees who leave...

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Dad’s Toolkit

Dad’s Toolkit

It’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the value of family, and in particular the role of dads. What are your strengths as a parent? Are there some areas you could grow in? How do you begin your journey of becoming the parent God has called you to be? Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family, have created a ‘Dad’s Toolkit’ that’s full of ideas on how dad’s can improve themselves. It contains things like conversation starters with your kids, and questions we can ask our dads. Healthy...

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Truth, Lies and Financial Freedom

Truth, Lies and Financial Freedom

Many Christians divide their lives into categories. Some things they want Jesus to be a part of, but not others. Because we compartmentalise our Christian lives, according to Pastor Jeff Vines, we instantly assume that everything we don’t devote to God is neutral. God will still love us, but any area that we withhold from Him and think we can handle on our own is a false assumption. C.S. Lewis said, ‘There is no neutral ground in the universe.’ Every square inch, every split second is claimed...

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God is always wanting to use us

God is always wanting to use us

Recently, I was clicking through folders and folders of early photos of our kids. From baby age to the present, I just got lost in it for hours.  How good it was to recount the memories, the places we had visited and I just couldn’t hold back giving God the glory for the good things He had done in our family. Towards the end, a certain photo stopped me in my tracks.  You see, over 2yrs ago, our eldest daughter moved to Perth to follow God’s plan for her life. While Cindy and I daily still miss...

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Bringing Clarity in Confusing Times

Bringing Clarity in Confusing Times

Dr Kameel Majdali is an ordained minister of the Australian Christian Churches. He preaches all over the world with an emphasis on the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. He also leads the organisation Teach All Nations, a ministry that is dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible. Kameel recently joined the 20Twenty program on Vision Christian Media to share a preview of what to expect in his upcoming Australian tour. His desire is to bring...

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How To Read and Study the Bible

How To Read and Study the Bible

Can you imagine being surrounded by the freshest produce, in the best kitchen with the best utensils, but not knowing how to prepare a meal? For many Christians, that’s exactly what reading the Bible feels like. Simply put, we just don’t know how to utilise it effectively. Ben Windle says you can attend church for many years, listen to a lot of teaching and still not learn how to read the Bible for yourself. Yet there is no better way to fuel our growth than personally engaging with the Bible....

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God is Always Speaking

God is Always Speaking

“Hello God, are you there?  Why don’t you answer me?” I’m sure that has come out of our mouths at least once in our lifetime. Sometimes the idea is that God has turned off or gone quiet.  It’s not like He’s keeping silent to teach us a lesson in faith. The reality is, “God is always speaking; we’re not always listening.” Ezekiel 12:25 For I the Lord will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. Genesis 35:13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him.  Psalm...

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Get Free From Debt

‘The borrower is servant to the lender.’ Proverbs 22:7 NLT

To get free from debt:

(1) Write down your financial goals. Decide what’s truly important—how much you’ll save, how much you’ll spend, and how much debt you can handle without jeopardising your future. One reason we never reach our goals is because we don’t set any. You must know where you’re going and how to get there.

(2) Start small. Tackle one bill at a time. It’s amazing what you accomplish when you’re serious and stick with it. The Bible says, ‘At the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

(3) Don’t buy things you haven’t saved for. Borrowing money (even so-called ‘interest free’ deals) always come with fees and they add to your burden. When you borrow, your intentions may be good, but unforeseen circumstances can pop up meaning you need to extend the length of your loan, putting your further into debt. And it might be a good idea to stay away from any credit cards—they are a debt magnet!

(4) Give. This may sound foolish and counter-intuitive when you’re in debt. But Jesus said: ‘Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.’ (Luke 6:38 NLT)

(5) Expect disapproval. When you begin to practise financial discipline, some people may not be too happy, especially if it affects them personally. But if you only do things in life that nobody can find fault with, you’ll never accomplish much. Starting today, God wants you to be free from debt—and stay free (see John 8:36).

SoulFood: 2 Sam 1:1–3:21, John 1:29–42, Ps 131, Pr 23:1–3

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©