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by Brian Shilhavy 
“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
When the apostle Paul wrote the above statement, he had been stoned to death. Or at least, that is what his enemies thought.
Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.
But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.
The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.
“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:19-22)
Like Jesus before him, Paul was upsetting the ruling class that controlled the local politics and the economy, by preaching that one could have direct faith in God through his Son, Jesus Christ, apart from religion and the religious rulers.
It was a message that empowered the common person. It was the message of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached.
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6:20-23)
Jesus made it clear that very few, if any, of the rich, ruling class, would be able to enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:24-30)
To the ruling class Jesus said:
“Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. (Matthew 21:42-45)
Satan is the ruler of the World System, but Jesus is the ruler of the Kingdom of God, which, for now, exists on earth in the lives of his true believers, until he returns to set up his physical Kingdom.
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”
Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’
Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.
But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.
But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife!
Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke 17:20-35)
To be a true disciple, a true believer in Jesus, is to NOT value this life, but to look forward to the one to come, where Jesus will rule as King in the Kingdom of God in a REAL New World Order.
And until that time, there is no “American Dream.”
There is no dream at all for this life – only the way of Jesus, who himself proclaimed: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Those of us who have been raised in the United States of America have been brainwashed for most of our lives. We have been taught that we are a “special people,” better than other nations, and that our founders were all righteous, Godly men, seeking a better way of life.
But as I have said on many occasions, the biggest lie that Satan sows is the one mixed with truth. The more truth to overcome the lie, the more damaging the false belief.
America is not special. America has at times in its short history been blessed by God, but not because we are special.
There was only one favored nation at any point in human history, and that was the nation that was delivered from the oppression of slavery in Egypt, where God delivered them and led them to the promised land.
Did God bless them because they were better than the other nations around them?
No! In fact, God had to wait for a whole generation to die off while living under difficult circumstances in the desert, so evil and corrupt they had become while living in Egypt.
And according to Moses, who led them to the “Promised Land,” their children who eventually did enter the promised land were no more righteous than their parents.
Do not say in your heart… “It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,” whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you.
Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
God used that nation for his own purposes, for that specific time period, and it is the subject of a whole different article.
But the myth of the American Dream is now quickly falling apart as the Globalists quickly move to completely destroy it.
And we deserve it. Only by repenting of our sins, and begging for God’s mercy, can anything positive arise from the ashes of what is about to come.
But the truth is, this is how it has ALWAYS been throughout human history.
The way to God, the way to the truth, and to the life, is a path of suffering, humiliation and shame. It is the same path Jesus walked when he took on human form and came to live a human life within the flow of human history.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:24-27)
It is a way that led to Jesus’ own death, a necessary, sacrificial death to save the world.
We are now called to follow the same path, the narrow path that may also lead to our physical death, as we look to the better life that is yet to come.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
The great people of faith recorded in the Scriptures all walked the same path of loneliness and suffering.
Old Testament believers:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
New Testament believers:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.
So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. (2 Corinthians 4:7-14)
Quite a different picture than the picture of the “American Dream,” isn’t it?
Since the end of WWII and the beginning of the “Industrial age” and now the “technological age,” the myth that has been perpetrated through the invention of television and their programming and the American propaganda educational system, is that the American dream is real, and obtainable by anyone. And that the enemies of this American way of life are other nations who are jealous of our “freedom” and therefore hate us.
Bull crap! This is, and always has been, a lie straight from the pits of hell, and the father of lies, Satan.
America is not the promised land. America is dead.
Judgement is coming, whether you are ready for it or not.
So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.'”
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?
So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 3:7-19)
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