Sep 13

“Troublesome Times . . .”

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear/Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake/Humbling your hearts to God saves from the chastening rod/Seek the way pilgrims trod, Christians awake” “Jesus is Coming Soon” by R.E. Winsett

Crucifixions. Beheadings. Kidnappings. Schools who allow even the most simple and small expressions of religious faith being intimidated by lawsuits (Arkansas State, for example). Troublesome times, indeed. And it can be discouraging, thinking about all that stuff. “How long, O Lord?” Such has been the cry of the suffering church for centuries, affirming Jesus’ statement “In the world you will have tribulation.”

In the Middle East, there once was a thriving Christian Movement in the centuries following Christ. And even as Islam “went forth conquering” (Rev. 6:2), Christianity, in a broad sense, continued to thrive – and even expand – for many more centuries. Now, those who claim His name are on the run, causing many to wonder if in the coming years there will be any there who have heard the Name above all Names.

In Europe, the cradle of Christendom; the soil from which sprang Catholicism; Protestantism; the Anabaptist Movement; and many other faith expressions that claim to follow Christ; hardly anyone believes in anything anymore. Atheism; Naturalism; Hedonism; and Marxism, along with a cornucopia of other “isms” have replaced vibrant faith in Christ and in the Book that rejuvenated one continent 500 years ago and, once transported to these shores, tamed a another continent.

And here? In America? As the world burns, we fiddle with the remote control, lulled to sleep by Substance Abuse, the Pursuit of Pleasure and today’s “Opiate of the Masses” – 24-hours-a-day Entertainment and Diversion, piped in through TV, Computer and Smartphone. Nobody knows anything anymore, especially the Word of God or even the religious history of our Country. It’s enough to make one want to give up.

But we’re only halfway through the verse quoted up there at the top. Sure, the trouble we’re in is big. It’s real. It is, potentially, a threat to our continued existence as a nation. But it’s not bigger than Christ. What did He say about Himself?

“I have overcome the world.”

And He has. Even as trouble is unleashed, so is His love, power and protection upon His sheep.

Ours is the God of Abraham. The God who prospered him in a land not his own – yet.

Ours is the God of Moses. The God who did wonders against Egypt and Pharaoh, humbling a wicked king and releasing the captives.

Ours is the God of Daniel. The God who protected and prospered Daniel in the land of his captivity and humbled the proud king Nebuchadnezzar.

Ours is the God of the Resurrection, in which Messiah overcame death itself and obtained in His resurrection a resurrection for us as well.

Above all, ours is the God of the Second Coming. He will return; every eye will see Him; and He will destroy – finally – every enemy, including death itself.

So . . . fear not! He’s in control, even when things appear to be bleak. He has already won the war.

And be proud. Not of ourselves; we are “unprofitable servants” no matter how much we accomplish in Christ. But we have every right – and a sacred duty – to “boast in the Lord.” To proclaim His supremacy over all. And to trust in Him, no matter how dark it appears to be outside.

He’s got this.

Sep 07

The Pool of the Pitiful

Lonnie Davis

It was a pool of water, but it might well have been called the “Pool of the Pitiful” for around it were people with all kinds of misfortune. There were blind, crippled, and paralyzed people all around it. What was it that called them all to this same place? The greatest motivator in the world – hope!
 
Two thousand years ago hopeful people gathered around this pool waiting miracle. There was a story that an angel would stir up the water and whenever it did, whoever touched the water first would be healed. As Jesus walked along he saw one crippled man by the pool and asked, “Do you want to get well?”
 
Listen to the man’s answer to this simple question. “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7).
 
He could have just said, “Yes.” Instead he tells just much about his misguided thinking.
 
He thought:
1. Everything depended on people – “I have no one to help.”
2. Everything depended on the right location – “to put me into the pool.”
3. Everything depended on the right condition – “when the water is stirred.”
4. Everything can be blamed on others – “another steps before me.”
 
Even today, many believe the blessings of life depend upon other folks, the right location, or the right condition. In truth our future does not depend on any of these things, nor can we blame anyone else if blessings do not come our way. Like this crippled man discovered, true blessings depend on a right relationship with Jesus.
 
Jesus told him, “‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” (John 5:8-9).
 
Do not whine. Do not make excuses. Just obey Jesus. When we do what Jesus says, it always turns into a blessing.
 
Lonnie Davis

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