Subject: A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Date: Friday, September 18, 2009, 10:19 AM
I Hope all of you can pull this up. For those who cannot, if you will e-mail me your mailing address, I will print it off and mail it to you, if you want to read it (Walt)...
I felt a prompting this morning, perhaps even, a constraint, to pen a few words of encouragement to each of us, for we are in troublesome times. We must all readily acknowledge that we live in a volatile world that is growing more wicked and wretched with every passing day. Nations are gearing up for war with rogue dictators and tyrannical leaders relentlessly developing nuclear capabilities. Radical Islam is threatening openly to eventually turn the entire world into a Muslim society with no one left alive who refuses to convert to their brutal system that is both religious and political.
Our own beloved nation is in its death throes due to all three branches of our government seemingly set on implementing Socialism in the place of our traditional (and Constitutional) system of Capitalism and free enterprise. Our religious freedom is being squeezed out day after day with government intrusion into our churches, as well as all public places, where almost any mention of faith, prayer, or the Word of God is forbidden, yet there is toleration for every foul enterprise, every pagan endeavor and even every religion “other than” the Christianity upon which this country was founded.
Our churches are apostatizing at an alarming rate and are becoming little more than worldly social clubs and entertainment centers with carnival atmospheres and circus environments, where 20 minute devotionals on Sunday morning are hurriedly thrown in at the end of the plethora of secular and carnal activities that pervade the places of worship, if it could be described as anything resembling worship. No time is left for any appreciable exalting of Christ and His redemptive, atoning work on the cross of Calvary; no place allotted for testimonies of God’s goodness; no space for the old hymns of the faith; no attention to, or time for, the moving of the Holy Spirit in the services. How can “all the counsel of God” be given to the congregation by the pastor in such an environment and with such time restrictions? It cannot.
By now, most of you are saying, “I thought you said you were going to offer some encouragement.” So I did, and so I am, but the stage had to be set before some would realize there was even a need, since so many seem unaware that anything is wrong with the present system. We have been “conditioned” over time to accept these lukewarm conditions in our churches. Many of us like the fact that no real commitment is expected of us; that we can rush out of church before noon, having heard very little from the Scriptures but instead, made to feel good about ourselves in our sins and complacency. Isn’t it neat to salve our consciences with a quick trip to the church house and a hasty retreat there from, enabling us to hurry back to our worldly concerns and our comfortable spot in the recliner before the television with remote in hand, as Hollywood pours its cesspool of filth into our living rooms and shapes the minds of our children away from moral absolutes and spiritual moorings.
Now, where’s the encouragement? Here it is: God is still on His throne, ruling, overruling and ever ruling, in charge and in control. He sees all and knows all and is right on schedule in His plan and purpose of the ages. None of this madness and insanity has caught Him by surprise. Those of us who have taken the time to read the Book realize that He warned us of the worsening of things in the closing days of human history; that nations would rise against each other and wars and rumors of wars would be rampant. He warned that the masses of humanity would continue on the broad way to destruction and that “few” would enter the straight and narrow way to life eternal.
What’s the bottom line? Just this: those of us who know the Lord, and rather, are known of Him, are guaranteed that we “shall never perish” (John 10:27, 28); that He will “never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5); that we may “cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us” (I Peter 5:7); that we are “kept by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:5); that we are “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37) and gave Himself for us; that He “always causes us to triumph in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14); that He “adds all things” to those who “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33); that the “effectual fervent prayers” of the righteous “prevail much” with Him (James 5:16); that we can have a “peace that passes understanding” to “keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7); that we “can do all things through Christ” who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13); that we can have “joy that is unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8); that we can look out beyond our circumstances, knowing that we have His Word, which is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105); that “little is much when God is in it” (Psalm 37:16 / Proverbs 15:16, 16:8) and “If God be for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)?
Topping it all off, are some other special promises that He gave His followers: “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3); His last promise to His waiting church: “Surely I come quickly” (Revelation 22:20) is a great encouragement to watch and pray.
We are told to be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13); that we are to “look for the Savior” from Heaven “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Philippians 3:20, 21); that “The Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17); that “When He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2); that “We shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Corinthians 15:51-53); that there is a “crown of righteousness for all those who love His appearing” (II Timothy 4:8) and that “for those who look for Him, He shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).
So, Precious Ones: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Soon our Lord will return and say, “Come up hither,” and we shall be snatched from this vale of tear below to meet Him in the air will gather around His throne, where He will be seated in majesty and splendor and bright glory! We shall see Him in the beauty of His holiness, reigning over the vastness of the works of His hands, and marvel of all marvels, we are “joint-heirs” with Christ (Romans 8:16, 17) of all things Heaven affords, and we who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb on Calvary’s cross “will inherit all things” (Revelation 21:7) as sons and daughters of God. He will “dwell with us, and we shall be His people, and He shall be with us and be our God” and He shall “wipe away all tears from our eyes,” and there will be “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3, 4). Is this not the most thrilling thing that could ever engage your thought processes?
“Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet” (Hebrews 12:12) as we all look with great anticipation and expectation for our Lord’s soon return! Let us believe His Word, embrace His promises and put a song in our hearts and a spring in our steps, for we shall soon enter the “gates of pearl,” within the diamond “jasper walls,” tread the “streets of Gold” (Revelation 21:1--27) and “so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:17, 18).
Keep looking up and keep pressing on!
Much love in Him,
Pastor Walt XXXXXXX