“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Romans 8:18-19).
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Over the past few days and weeks, I have had several conversations with people expressing a feeling of being overwhelmed with situations in both their own lives and in the lives of those in the world around them. The stress of coping with the COVID agenda appears to be adding an additional burden to coping with the ups and downs of life. Anger fuses are shorter these days. Hurt feelings seem to lie just below the surface. The hair trigger for tears can be something that normally would be met with a baleful stare or admonition, or even a giggle. Add all this to those having to deal with the death of a loved one, or with a major injury, or a serious disease; well, it is certainly understandable that many are feeling totally overwhelmed.
Jesus said of the Last Days, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
While we are not facing The Tribulation yet, it is obvious to many that those days are approaching, and rather more rapidly than we might have expected. The events of the past year have put everyone, even God’s people, under great duress. Unfortunately, according to God’s Word, this will only get worse as the “Day of The LORD” approaches. The Good News is: we believers, we who are Children of God, will be ‘caught up’ to meet Jesus in the air ‘to keep us from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the Earth” (1 Thess. 4:13-18) (Rev. 3:10). At the end of Apostle Paul’s description of the Rapture in the Thessalonians passage is this beautiful little sentence, “Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” Today, friends, I pray you will be comforted.
As many of you who read these devotionals may have figured out, Romans 8:18-19 and 8:28 are two of my ‘life verses,’ the main one being John 3:16 (N.T. in a single verse!). As such, these verses inform my approach to all aspects of life. Over the years, I have truly come to know that, even when life on this fallen earth gives us lemons, our loving Father God will work it to our advantage and great good, ultimately. Our part is to be patient and “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).
Okay, I’m going to take a minute or two to relate an old story that illustrates, quite graphically, the truth of Romans 8:28. Whether it is a true story or a parable, the source doesn’t say.
“A tribal king somewhere in Africa had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of responding to every situation that ever occurred (whether positive or negative) in his life, as well as in the lives of those around him, by saying, “This is good!” The friend based his constant response on two Bible scriptures: 1 Thess. 5:18 – “… give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus,” and Romans 8:28. The king loved his friend’s positive outlook and kept him close, always.
One day the king and his positive friend were out on a hunting trip. As the king fired his gun at a bird in the bush, the rifle backfired and blew off his right thumb. Looking at the king’s bleeding hand, the friend remarked, as usual, “This is Good!”
The king was hurt and angry and shouted, “No, this is NOT good!” and sent his friend to jail on a charge of being insubordinate to the king.
About a year later, the king was hunting all alone in an area that was inhabited by cannibals. A cannibal hunting party captured the king and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, and were going to cook him in a big pot. As they set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb on his right hand. Being very superstitious, cannibals never eat anyone who is less than perfect, in the belief the victim’s imperfection will become theirs, too, when eaten. So, they released the king.
Walking home, the king kept staring at his right hand, the one without a thumb. “This is Good!” he said out loud. He was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his shabby treatment of his good friend. Immediately, he went to the jail to have his friend released.
“You were right,” the king said to his friend. “It was very good that my thumb was blown off,” and the king told his friend of his adventure with the tribe of cannibals. “And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this.”
“No!” said his friend. “This is good!”
“What do you mean, ‘This is good?’ How could it be good that I put my friend in jail for a year?”
“Well,” said the king’s friend, “if I had not been here in jail, I would have been out there with you. They would have eaten me instead!”
GOD IS GOOD, ALWAYS! Let’s sing FAITH IS THE VICTORY.
Encamped along the hills of light, ye Christian soldiers rise,
And press the battle ere the night shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know, that overcomes the world.
REFRAIN: Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory that overcomes the world.
His banner over us is love, our sword the Word of God;
We tread the road the saints above with shouts of triumph trod.
By faith they, like a whirlwind’s breath, swept on o’er every field;
The faith by which they conquered death is still our shining shield.
On every hand the foe we find drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind, and onward to the fray;
Salvation’s helmet on each head, with truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ‘neath our tread, and echo with our shout.
To him that overcomes the foe, white raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know his name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hills of light, our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night, in Jesus’ conquering Name.
Yes, indeed, it is our faith in Jesus Messiah that overcomes all the hardship that the world has to offer. So, for those who are overwhelmed by world events at this time, does that mean our faith is inadequate to stay focused on Jesus rather than on our problems? This is one question I’ve wrestled with recently, and I am willing to share the perspective to which the LORD led me.
The short answer is ‘no,’ we are not overwhelmed because our faith is inadequate. If we believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Who died, rose again, and is set to come back for us, our faith is in HIM, not in us, and that makes it more than adequate; it is enough.
I believe what is happening is that for 75+ years, believers in Christ have not been subject to the level of evil that is in the world today. Growing up, living in a Godly environment, life was relatively easy. Oh yes, there were still hurts, disappointments and great losses with which to cope, but we were coping with life in the context of a Christian-Judeo world. Almost everyone we grew up with went to church, believed in Jesus, read the Bible, and tried to be good Christians. That was in the ’50s and early ’60s.
As the evil of the sexual revolution began to rise, Christians were still very much protected in their own environment. The government ensured freedom of religion. No one ever heard of Christian persecution in Canada in those days. But into the ’70s and ’80s, we sensed a change, and by the time the new century dawned, evil was showing up increasingly in the culture – movies, TV shows, music, etc. And now, in the 2020s, we are feeling the burden of the Evil One working overtime, even in our small towns and villages. Not to mention that COVID-19, and its fall-out, has been a catalyst for those who embrace all things anti-Christian.
So, in the context of Romans 8:28, is all this stress really being worked to our benefit by Almighty God? Yes, and THIS IS GOOD! Really! God has a plan, and it is, as always, a really good one.
Apostle Peter tells us, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the ordeal that has come on you to test you. But rejoice, inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the Name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you… If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 12-14, 16).
You see, we are being refined. God is getting us ready for the glorious revelation of Our LORD Jesus’ return to earth. It seems as though time is of the essence. Prophetic events foretold by both the Old Testament Prophets and the New are being revealed at breakneck speed. In the context of Bible Prophecy, we can clearly see how the LORD is using the pandemic to bring about so many prophecies, including a One-World Government, One-World Religion, and the Mark of the Beast. (There are some of us who believe humans are currently being prepared for the Mark of the Beast, but the Bible says it won’t come until “the man of lawlessness is revealed.”)
As the Day of the LORD comes closer and closer, Almighty God appears to be refining His people. The LORD is putting us in ‘hot water,’ so to speak, to test our resolve and make us stronger. The stronger we are, the more likely we will be to stand firm until the end, which is an imperial directive of King Jesus.
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
As we learn to endure and overcome our altered circumstances, our impurities are being burned away, one by one. Just as metal refiners subject gold, silver and other metals to high heat to burn off impurities – to refine the metal – so are we being refined as believers in, and followers of, Jesus Messiah. It’s not comfortable. It’s not a place we’d like to stay in, for sure. But I do believe God is annealing us, refining us for the time when Jesus comes to take His Bride (the Church) to heaven. Our God is preparing us to be wholly HOLY.
So, keep trusting the LORD, and keep calm throughout this time, because THIS IS GOOD!!
Let us pray:
Our Father in Heaven (Avinu, sha-ba, sha-mayim)
How comforting it is to know, LORD, that You ARE our Father, that You care for us so much, that You are as devoted to each of us as though there were only one of us. You know every hair on each one’s head. You know what is in each one’s heart. We all have been called according to Your purpose, and we know and trust that, as Apostle Paul wrote, “… in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” Please, Father, keep us firmly in Your strength, guide us with Your Holy Spirit in all situations, and, dear Jesus, keep us close to you. May we not ever waver in our faith but stay strong to the end. In Your precious name, Yeshua Ha’Maschiach, we pray. Amen.
This devotional, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by Lynda Janzen, Kincardine, ON Canada, with the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God.
If anyone reading this email has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
Salvation as simple as ABC:
A: Admit that you are a sinner. This is where Godly sorrow leads to genuine repentance for sinning against a righteous God, and there is a change of heart; we change our mind, and God changes our hearts and regenerates us from the inside out.
Romans 3:10 – “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'”
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
B: Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Jesus from the dead. This is trusting with all of your heart that Jesus Christ is who he said he was.
Romans 10:9-10 – “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
C: Call upon the name of the Lord. Every single person who ever lived since Adam will bend their knee and confess with their mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
Romans 14:11 – “It is written: ‘As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'”
Romans 10:13 – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”