"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 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.
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.
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.
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 American propaganda education 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.