Saturday, December 01, 2012

All the devil has to offer us is…a fallen world

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

In meeting with Christians during the last month, many are despondent, hurting and doubting.  People are deeply concerned for the church and for our country.  We are reeling and afraid.

What is God doing?  Why all the acrimony in the country?  Have we truly come to the realization that as a country, we are deeply divided and broke?  We have deep divides in our communities between the haves and the have not’s.  Earlier we have talked about impending doom for America; we now realize that the hoof beats are no longer in the distance but are by the front doors of our homes, businesses and sadly, our churches.

What are we doing?  We are afraid; we are wringing our hands; sometimes I am too.  What should we do?  Pray and remember.  Pray for revival, not for America but for the church.  Pray for revival; personal revival.  Oh Lord, start with us…with me.  Forgive me, forgive us…start your work Lord; start with us.  As a result, the church will then take care of itself.

We are to pray and remember what?  God’s plans and purposes are never thwarted.  His plan will be fulfilled and come to be.  Remember the first Advent—we celebrate this at Christmas.  We should remember the promise of His Second Coming, the Second Advent.  Why is Jesus going to return?  Because He said He would come back.  In the meantime, we huddle in doubt and fear, wring our hands, and doubt some more.  The devil loves all the hand wringing.  Remember this is the eternal battle between good and evil; if we are in Christ, we win.  The days ahead for Christians and America will be hard.  Yes, we may very well suffer.  Temptation will continue to buffet our souls but remember this, all the devil can offer us is a fallen world—nothing more.

When Jesus came, the angels told the sheepherders “Don’t be afraid.”   To all of us, sheep and sheepherders alike don’t be afraid.  Why, the devil has nothing to offer us, nothing.

Pray for personal revival; it is our only hope.  May the Spirit move us to life—true life found only in Christ.  Now is the time to do our best work in the worst times.

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