Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Happy Ending After A Dark History

If you are believer and read the Bible then you know that hard times are coming. You read of future judgement and not humanistic triumph. It will eventually get worse before it gets better. It is not all a fairy tale ending for our cultures and civilizations. People who adopt non-biblical philosophies can live believing that man might destroy himself by greed or save himself and this planet through diligence, altruism and hard work but believers know this isn't true.

History has already been written and the future is available to us in broad strokes if you just know where to look in the scriptures. The scripture foretold the coming of Messiah and the time frame of the cross and the destruction of the temple in Israel in 70 AD (see Daniel 9). It foretold the triumph and apostasy of the Church (see Revelation 1:11-3:22). The world as we know it will change and it won't be for the better. It needs saving just as we needed saving and the same One who saved us will save it when He returns.

When we talk about such things it comes across as negative and pessimistic. We can even take on a pessimistic attitude to life because of this knowledge. Why save for retirement if the tribulation is right around the corner? Should we raise children if we know the world will be harder for them then it was for us? On and on it goes.

The following thought pattern is very possible for any person who knows of future judgement but has no grace balance.

"If I say, 'I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,' there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot'... Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, 'A son is born to you,' making him very glad. Let that man be like the cities that the LORD overthrew without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at noon, because he did not kill me in the womb; so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?" - Jeremiah 20:9, 15-18 ESV

Grace sustains us in hard times. Grace gives us hope.

"Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame.  And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." - Joel 2:23-28 ESV

God has a provision in the midst of trouble. The light that remains always appears brighter in the darkness. God will pour out His spirit on us before the end. There will be grassroots revival in the Church before we are taken away. Just as Pentecost came before Rome destroyed Jerusalem a kind of Pentecost will come in the Church before the day of Jacob's trouble. A corporate Pentecost will come that won't be reported on CNN but it will be as real as Peter preaching before the crowd and seeing multitudes turn in his day.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you..." - Jeremiah 29:11-14a ESV

This is a promise given to Israel but it is also for all who trust in the God of Israel. We are strangers and pilgrims in a strange land but we sow and reap. We have children and take wives. We do business and invest. We also have a mental bag packed and ready to go because we are all missionaries. God can send us or take us as He pleases.

Our message has good news in the midst of bad news. The world will get darker but Jesus saves all who turn to Him. Life will get harder with brief respites at times because God is merciful but we don't need to be negative or to shut our mouths about it. God is good.

"Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit." - Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV

The best is yet to come. We will see broken dead people come alive. We will see God restore all that had to be destroyed because there was no fixing it.

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:" - Job 19:25-26 KJV

Rejoice. We have a real Resurrection to look forward to.


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