Troublesome Times, Yet No Fear
Have you been watching the news? There is no doubt the times we live in are troublesome. It can be shocking what people will do to one another.
Then there are the natural disasters. One comes and, before the people can recover, another one strikes somewhere else.
It can all be overwhelming. However, God is not overwhelmed, nor is He surprised!
Luke 21:8-19 is a great reminder that God is all-knowing. Jesus prophesies as to what is to come. It is not all good news. It certainly was not what the disciples hoped to hear. However, it does end in a glorious promise in verses 18 and 19:
But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls. (NLT)
How marvelous God is! Jesus not only warns us what is to come, He also shares the hope that through Him we can overcome!
God has faithfully told us our options and their consequences from the beginning. In Genesis 2:16-17 He told Adam:
But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
God knew Adam would fail. He knows we will sometimes fail. However, we do not need to fear, because God always has a plan. Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus was the plan from the beginning:
… the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.
God knew Jesus would need to come and die on a cross to make things right. We have no need to fear. God has a plan, He is for us, and He loves us.
First John 4:18 informs us about God’s love casting out fear.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
God’s love is perfect and no matter what we face, or how crazy this world gets, His love is always there for us, to rescue us. Romans 8:35-39 states it this way:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We, therefore, have hope and confidence in our God. Do not let the events around you, or even those in your life, cause you to fear. Trust in the Lord for He is good.
Joshua 22:7b-8 7b When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, 8saying, “Return to your homes with your great wealth–with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing–and divide with your brothers the plunder from your enemies.”
The tribes of Gad, Rueben, and half of Manasseh had done their duty. They stayed more than five extra years fighting alongside their brothers to secure a place for them. Because of their integrity in keeping their word they were rewarded with their portion of the spoils from the enemies. They were not going back empty handed.
Those that stayed behind to watch out for their territory and protect the women and children were to receive their share of the spoils of war. They hadn’t risked their lives to capture in battle, but they did do the job assigned to them. I imagine the homes these men returned to were in much better shape because of those who stayed behind.
Not everyone is called to go out on the field and win the masses. We are all called to be witnesses. We are all called to be servants. Some are called to stay by the stuff and keep the home fires burning. Will they receive any less than those who risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel? Not if that was their calling. If they were obedient to God where they were, they will share in the spoils of war. They will receive their portion. It is not the role you fill but your faithfulness in doing what you are called to do. Remember, Christ says, “Well done good and FAITHFUL servant.
Consider: Do I recognize the victory belongs to all God’s faithful servants?
Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle: 365 Sermons
Justification and glory
‘Whom he justified, them he also glorified.’ Romans 8:30
Suggested Further Reading: Revelation 21:22–22:5
If I might very hastily divide this glory into its constituent elements, I think I should say it means perfect rest. ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God;’ life in its fullest sense; life with emphasis; eternal life; nearness to God; closeness to the divine heart; a sense of his love shed abroad in all its fulness; likeness to Christ; fulness of communion with him; abundance of the Spirit of God, being filled with all the fulness of God; an excess of joy; a perpetual influx of delight; perfection of holiness; no stain nor thought of sin; perfect submission to the divine will; a delight and acquiescence in, and conformity to that will; absorption as it were into God, the creature still the creature, but filled with the Creator to the brim; serenity caused by a sense of safety; continuance of heavenly service; an intense satisfaction in serving God day and night; bliss in the society of perfect spirits and glorified angels; delight in the retrospect of the past, delight in the enjoyment of the present, and in the prospect of the future; something ever new and evermore the same; a delightful variety of satisfaction, and a heavenly sameness of delight; clear knowledge; absence of all clouds; ripeness of understanding; excellence of judgment; and, above all, an intense vigour of heart, and the whole of the heart set upon him whom our eye shall see to be altogether lovely! I have looked at the crests of a few of the waves as I see them breaking over the sea of immortality. I have tried to give you the names of a few of the peaks of the long alpine range of glory. But where are my words, and where are my thoughts? ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’
For meditation: We cannot comprehend the glory of our Christian inheritance (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2), which is the opposite of what we deserve as those who ‘have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Are you ‘justified by faith’ in the Lord Jesus Christ and able to ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:1–2)?
Douglas MacLeod, Today Devotions,
SCRIPTURE READING — MARK 16:6-8
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
These final sentences in Mark 16 have left a lot of people puzzled. (Though some Bibles include more verses, those are not included in the earliest manuscripts.) We might wonder if maybe Mark misplaced the last page of his book or if it later got lost. The ending seems hasty and even gloomy. We’d expect the women to be happy and eager to spread the news of Jesus’ rising. But instead they are silent and afraid.
As noted earlier this month, we can be thankful that many other Bible passages help to explain the resurrection. And the books of Matthew, Luke, and John share other details of what happened next and how others met the risen Jesus that day and in the weeks ahead.
In blunt honesty, though, Mark describes the reality of that day: the resurrection of Jesus was so alarming that it brought disorientation and fear. This also shows that the women did not yet have the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1-2).
Instead of leaving us thrilled, Mark’s account challenges us to search out the rest of the story and to figure out how God calls us to respond to the risen Jesus. The resurrection has set in motion a new chapter that is still being told, still unfolding. And we enter into the story ourselves as we listen and follow where Jesus leads next.
How has Easter and the risen Lord affected your life?