Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation

After a holy day when it seemed the whole world joined in the celebration, let us look at the reason for our Lord’s death and resurrection and why we should be observing every Lord’s Day as a holy day.

Is there a conspiracy in the world? Yes!

The controversy concerns the identity of the conspirators and when and where the conspiracy began. Consolation is for those who live in peace, while enduring the conspiracy and the controversy.

Our sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth,  has been, and always will be in control if the conspiracy, the controversy, and the consolation.

Our Lord God, ruler over His creation, keeps heaven holy, preserving His kingdom for His people – those who live in obedience to the rule of His kingdom.

The enemy uses every means and opportunity to war against God’s kingdom here on earth. This is the spiritual warfare the Christian encounters as we live for Christ and the truth.

The great conspiracy has always been “against the LORD and His Anointed” (Psalm 2). But the final attempt failed as Jesus rose from the dead, victoriously ruling in power over heaven and earth. This victory is now ours over every conspiracy the enemy may use against the Lord, His kingdom and His people.

Even as the conspiracy began with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, so did the controversy. Men want to blame other men as conspirators, not realizing that God’s enemy is not man, but as Paul identifies them.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13

Even as the enemy conspires through men to overcome God’s rule on earth, he continues to stir up contention among God’s people for unrest and anxiety, fear, and chaos. People use the sword of God’s Word against each other only to prove their inability to discern the truth.

God is Achieving His Purposes
As God rules over all (Psalm 103:19) He uses the works of the enemy to achieve His purposes.

Joseph’s brothers conspired against him, only that God would use their evil for good. (Gen. 37:18; Gen. 50:20)

The enemy was given permission to make Job’s life a hell on earth, but God used the enemy’s work to refine Job and make him an example for His people (Job 2:6; Job 42).

The religious leaders conspired to destroy Jesus and the truth He came to reveal. but it was the Father’s means to deliver His people (Acts 4:24-28). The conspirators were turned on their heels and the victory of our Lord was executed over death and the enemy (2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-17).

Paul was part of the conspiracy until Jesus confronted Him on the road to Damascus and turned Him to repentance (Acts 9:1-6). Afterward, Paul witnessed God’s working through his afflictions to conform him to the image of Christ (Phil. 3:7-10).Consolation
The enemy was defeated on the day Jesus rose from the dead, He lives forever and we live through Him. (2 Cor. 13:4; 1 John 4:9).

We live in the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer tossed to and fro by the enemy’s lies and upheaval, we can console others with the good news of the victory in Christ.

Even as Isaiah prophesied against God’s people because of their rebellion, he was instructed to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1). God judged, chastened, and sent His people into captivity. He restored them after seventy years ~ the number of years they had profaned His Sabbaths. God promised comfort through their affliction.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?” Isaiah 51:12

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercies… be of one mind,” Phil. 2:1

We will continue tomorrow with more of God’s Word on comfort.

Gracious Father, we pray that you continue to work in the hearts of your people. Even while we are apart, strengthen our hearts to comfort and exhort one another, to be of one mind, and edify the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

The Buried Treasure

Uniquely, this season of many deaths coupled with the celebration of new life in Christ has unearthed the message we most need to hear. Instead of gathering to offer our praises, we are being kept to ourselves to discover our personal needs.

In the three sermons I heard yesterday, repentance was the subject of each of these, a basic message that has been hidden for decades.

From Acts 2:36-38 to Luke 13:1-5 to Acts 11:18 the clear message was brought to the attention of the hearer.

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. Acts 11:18

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;  but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath,” Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?Romans 2:4-8

I add to this post the third message I heard from Luke 13:1-5 — a message we need to hear and to answer.

God Has Given Us His Kingdom

Our pastor has been preaching through the Gospel of Luke for several weeks.
His text in some way is relative each week to what we are experiencing in the world today.

We were blessed last week with this sermon from Luke 12:32-40.
https://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=329201743101855

God Has Given Us His Kingdom    Luke 12:32-40   (Outline)

I. God’s Gracious Gift (v.32)
A. Do Not Be Afraid!
B. His Glorious Kingdom of Grace and Power
C. The Father Well Pleased with Us
II. Sell All for This Treasure (vv. 33-34; Matt. 13:46)
A. Hold Loosely to This World
B. No Weakness, Thieves, or Decay in Heaven
C. Your Heart Is Where Your Heaven Is
III. Be Ready for the Lord (vv. 35-36)
A. Jesus Now at Heaven’s Wedding Celebration
B. He Will Return; Be Ready for Him
IV. The King Is Coming! (vv. 37-40)
A. Let Him Find You Watching
B. He Will Reward His Faithful Servants
C. Like a Thief in the Night: Watch!

“What is Truth?” in Times Like These

Many are living in fear and confusion because they do not understand what is happening. Governments are accused of deceiving the people with false reports and keeping the public in suspense. Who really knows the truth about the virus that has spread throughout the world ~ even to the smallest towns and near all of us? Who knows what would happen if we did not observe the restrictions imposed upon us?

“What is truth? is a question for all times, especially while  we remember these words spoken by Pilate as he conducted the trial of Jesus.

Pilate’s question was a casual response to Jesus’ words,

 “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

John 18:37

Jesus had previously spoken of the truth to the people and privately to His disciples.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
” John 8:31-32

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

Our human nature causes us to doubt what we hear. We are inundated by data that only serves to confuse and distract us from our only true source of life.

The world continues to turn its back on the King and Lord of truth and so we live in a world of fantasy and fiction with no sure foundation for living.

Truth and Authority
When our trust is in Jesus Christ ~ the only bearer of truth ~ we do not have to rely on human sources. Our minds and hearts need to be turned to Him. He teaches us to trust Him even as we live in uncertain times under the human authorities placed over us. The truth in Jesus Christ brings us to trust in Him.

While He warns the sinner with the truth, it is good news of truth for those who come to Him in repentance and faith.  Whatever we hear falls under the authority of our Lord, Jesus Christ. All ~ including sickness and death ~ is under His jurisdiction as He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Let us bring every thought captive to Him and live in love, joy, and peace as He rules in all times and circumstances, and through all our tribulations (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 5:22).

He never  changes. He, in truth, rules  forever, leading us onward and upward in His grace to His glory.

 “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to reveal your truth to your people. Keep us by your Spirit in your Word to seek the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name, I pray, thank you, and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Article: Onward and Upward

Image: Google

Strategy for Times Like These

Few of this generation understand how to face and deal with the issues of this life. Not claiming to be one of the few but needing to know and use what our Creator has promised during these times, I write as I seek His kingdom and His righteousness. Only as we look to and receive His instructions can we discern the times and overcome our opposition.

Life is a constant battle (and has been since our first parents joined the forces of the enemy against God). The antithesis reveals the presence and power of God ~ good against evil. His grace and His glory are continually revealed in every generation whether through individual tensions or worldwide onslaughts.

The origin is the same. We each are dealing with our own thoughts ~ who we are, why we are, and how we are to live. It all boils down to self. Each heart beats to its own battle cry.  Each is bound and instructed by its own thoughts of what we see life to be. We walk according to the flesh. We respond to everything according to our own desires. And we buy, hold to and defend all we think will keep us alive.

This is the reality when the battle becomes prevalent and worldwide. We cannot escape the news of death and degradation when it mushrooms around us, but we can know and respond differently than the multitudes.

“Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

If we are aware of the battle in our lives during peaceful times and have learned to overcome the fleshly war, we are more apt to respond in faith and wisdom in times of crisis.

2 Corinthians has been a constant reminder of the greatest warfare we face. It teaches us that we are captives to the stronghold of our minds ~ thoughts that control us and keep us bound to ourselves and at enmity against God.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Paul spoke these words to the Corinthian Christians, knowing their need to deal with their former lives and their selfish desires. For every Christian, the power of the Holy Spirit works, teaching us through God’s Word, the strategy we are to use when facing the enemy.

We have this divine power available today as real as it was with Paul.

We must recognize the enemy within ~ thoughts that rule. Self has to be brought captive to Christ, in repentance and faith. We must ask and receive His Holy Spirit to bring us captive and teach us through His Holy Word.

We must spend time in His Word and prayer for the necessary instructions. When we overcome the enemy within (pride, fear, and unbelief), we will be confident in facing whatever the odds may be against us.

As we wait in times like these for what may come next, we must prepare.

Just as a soldier learns to use his weapon, we must have our weapon ready. Study and memorization of His Word is necessary for overcoming the enemy.


“Fear not, for I am with you;

    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,”
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

We have the promises and assurance of our Father’s presence and power with us at all times. They are for our consolation and comfort though we may have to endure sickness and death. Christ has been through suffering and death, leading us through the most treacherous of times we could ever face, excluding the eternal wrath of God.

When He wins the battle in us for our souls and minds, we become living sacrifices with all His people, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness to rule in the world.

 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking,
but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17

What promises of God’s Word do you use as a weapon of your warfare?

Gracious Father, forgive us as your people, living at enmity with you. Rend the heavens and come down to make yourself known to the adversaries ~ beginning with us, your children. Turn us from our selfish desires to receive all that you have prepared for us. Be merciful to us and all your enemies. For your glory, and our joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

In Times Like These

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
both sure and stedfast.”
Hebrews 6:19

Now in our eighties, Jerry and I have never known anything close to what the world is experiencing now. For over a week, I have been singing the hymn In Times Like These.

Searching for the composer and the story behind this hymn, I found it was written by Ruth Caye Jones, a pastor’s wife and the mother of five, living in Pennsylvania during World War II. She was distressed by the headlines of her Pittsburgh newspaper. She saw the World War II causality lists and she knew the Allies were making slow progress through the boot of Italy. Supplies were rationed at home, and everyone was living under incredible strain.

(Jerry was six years old and I was three at that time. I was born in 1939, when the war started, and I remember where I was when it ended in 1945. Jerry and I felt part of the aftermath of the depression of the late 1920s. But I had never heard of the pandemic of 1918 until I read about it two days ago.)

“Opening her Bible to 2 Timothy 3, Ruth studied the page and pondered the opening words. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. A song began composing itself in her mind. She jotted some lyrics on a small pad in her apron pocket. A series of notes also played in her mind. Only later did she realize they came from the old clock on the mantle with its iconic Westminster Chimes. Soon the notes and music congealed to become one of the most beloved Gospel songs of the 1940s and 1950s,

Ruth’s song may have been inspired by 2 Timothy 3:1, but it’s based on her knowledge of another verse—Hebrews 6:19, which says: This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Robert J. Morgan

Many of my thoughts during this time could be the source of articles on times like these, but I hope to share the encouraging ones for God’s people as minutely as possible. Not many of us can focus too long at one time.

Soon I want to look at the effects of times like these, how we can keep our focus on our Heavenly Father, thrive as His people even under the strain, and to share important and encouraging messages from pastors who are leading their flocks through this dark time.

Our Father in heaven, You are answering life-long prayers in ways we never expected, seeing and hearing things that are difficult to understand. We need your Holy Spirit to know how to pray. We are seeking your kingdom and your righteousness more and more. Draw us closer to you and help us to exhort one another to a deeper faith in you ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran