A few weeks back, I had the good fortune of going to Israel with my wife and a group of more than 80 people. Our guest hosts were American Family Association president Tim Wildmon and his wife, Allyson.
Tim's father, Dr. Donald Wildmon, was a full-time minister for more than 12 years before he started the National Federation for Decency in the late 1970s, which eventually became the American Family Association. Reverend Wildmon and his son's decades-long effort to stand up for Christian values in America has been greatly appreciated by millions of people throughout the country, including myself.
Every spring, Tim sponsors a Holy Land Tour. One of amazing places our group visited was the Mount of Beatitudes on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. According to some historians and tradition, the site (the Church of the Beatitudes) was the general location where
Jesus gave his famous sermon found in the Book of Matthew. It was there that Tim delivered an inspiring sermon.
While not an ordained pastor, Tim certainly gave a stirring talk to us that afternoon. He shared about the importance of not only believing in Christ, but in following Him faithfully.
"Ask most Christians what is the one virtue that Jesus mentions twice and they can't answer immediately," he remarkds. "However, if we read verse 6 (of Matthew 5) Jesus says: 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.' Jesus was talking about the importance of personal righteousness."
Tim further elaborated: "Have you ever been really hungry or really thirsty? You will do anything to quench those feelings. In the same way, we are to seek righteousness (holy living) before God. This pleases Him."
In the same chapter (verse 10) Jesus says: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Following up, Tim asked: "Why would Jesus stress the same virtue twice? Why? Because he is talking about ... standing in public for what God stands for. That would be moral values .... When a Christian takes a stand for what God says is right or what God says is wrong and that conflicts with the world's way of thinking or acting – that is when the backlash comes. That is when the persecution comes."
Tim concluded his inspiring talk by saying that it should be obvious to most Christians that "the world" hates the things of God (as well as His standards, as outlined the Word of God). Fortunately, as Christians, we know that the Christ of the Bible has come to deliver us from our sins. We show our love to Him by accepting Him into our lives, taking up our cross and following Him faithfully.
If you're like me, I am sure you can appreciate messages like this as well as the other ministries, outreaches, and resources offered through the American Family Association.
James Lambert, a Christian activist who lives in Southern California, is the author of the book "16 Amazing Stories of Divine Intervention."
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