As we look back at the last year, what has this done to our churches? Are we stronger or are we weaker? Has our faith increased or has it been weakened? Has our love abounded to one another or have we allowed the divisiveness of the world to creep into our hearts? The point of the exercise isn’t to encourage criticism. I’m not suggesting we assign some sort of grade or rating to our congregations. I don’t believe any of us has the discernment or information to make this kind of a judgment — we cannot possibly see what Christ saw to judge those congregations. But what we can reflect on is our own behavior, and the question we can ask ourselves is how have our actions impacted what Christ would see if He looked at our congregation as He did with the congregations in Asia?
We will spend our entire lives remembering things, but it’s crucial that we keep at the front of our minds that God the creator fashioned us individually. When speaking on Mars Hill, Paul doesn’t start with the cross of Christ, but with the creation. After that, he proceeds to the gospel of Christ. While it’s easy to forget so many things, let us never forget that the creator God has come to us in the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 17:24-26).
Throughout the ages, God has called many messengers to speak to those who are near and to those who are far off. Still today, the Lord calls us to spread his message. There are days and times when we feel unfit for this calling. We do not know enough, we are not eloquent enough. In this we are not alone. Isaiah knew that he was an unfit messenger. Jeremiah protested that he was too young. It is a normal thing for those whom God chooses to feel as though they are not worthy of this calling.
Manasseh’s repentance is a bit jarring. How could someone so wicked change and God receive him so willingly? Few among the kings of Israel or Judah are described as having such an evil character as Manasseh. However, God received him back favorably. He accepted Manasseh even before worship was restored. God could see the changed heart. Repentance begins in the heart and flows from there into action. No action we do can be worthy of God’s mercy (Psalm 51:16). God is waiting for the heart of man to turn humbly toward him.
I feel that we see these same issues in regards to Christianity. One tool that I feel Satan uses to blur the line of truth is the manipulation of the flow of information. Many years ago, during the Dark Ages, they were confronted with a different issue — NEI, or Not Enough Information. In some cases the truth was locked away so that the information that people needed was not readily available to them. Today in many ways our issues are exactly the opposite, as we are confronted by too much information.
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He knows that people are worriers, back then and even more so today. Anxiety is the chronic pandemic of our age, countered with medication and therapy. However, medication and therapy are not the ONLY resources that we have. Christ’s counsel is sorely needed, and what He says can profit every one of us.
INSIDE THE ISSUE: “Overcomers,” John Lee; “Rapture! Really?” John Morris; “A Bad Day,” Wade Stanley.
Often throughout history, God’s people are called to overcome, and the current times seem to strongly call us to that. It is easy to miss how closely the reality of biblical lives parallels what can occur in ours and, in so doing, we diminish the modern contained in the journeys of the old saints. We fail to see that, in the midst of their distresses, they exhibited some of their greatest worship.
Jesus is coming back. His return may be sudden, but it will not be secret. It will be visible to all, audible to all, and its accompanying judgment will be final for all. And that finality is why it’s so important to be aware of the errors of the doctrine we’ve been examining. By promising two returns, the doctrine of “the Rapture” promises people a second chance—another seven years, according to LaHaye, another three and a half years, according to others—but a second chance all the same.