August 27, 2020
There’s a lot of trouble in this world. We don’t have to think very hard to come up with some very troublesome things that have been occurring more frequently in recent years. Wars and rumors of wars fill the news. Nations are fighting each other, but there’s also fighting within nations. Men’s hearts are growing cold and hatred is pouring out into the streets. Families are falling apart. Single mothers, dead-beat dads, and kids rebelling because the family unit is broken, there’s little discipline, and certainly honoring God is marginalized at best. Corrupt liberal governments pass ungodly laws, right is called wrong and wrong is called right. Pestilence is in the headlines and people hide in fear because of an enemy we can’t see. What is a Christian to do? Do we sit back, watch TV, and allow evil to invade, or do we study Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in a spiritual fight? These troubling times in which we live should bring every Christian before God Almighty in humble prayer and repentance. Many are praying for America as hatred, fanned by liberal media and liberal politicians, rampages in the streets. Prayer is good, but remember, we need to look at our own sin and repent before we can expect God to do anything about our nation. It’s not only in America, but every nation. God is not at all pleased with the sin that grips Christians and non-Christians alike. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17. There’s a lot to be fixed within the Christian community. We seem to think we can embrace sin and God will turn a blind eye. Maybe the evil that’s permeating society is happening because Christians embrace the world and God’s ready to judge.
Many people blame God when turmoil happens, but you need to put the blame where it belongs. Choices not made with God’s guidance will always bring trouble. If the voice you’re following leads you into sin, then it’s not God’s voice you’re hearing. Quite often, things go wrong because of our own actions and choices, and because we listen to the lust of the flesh instead of the prompting of the Holy Spirit. If you choose to live against God’s ways, you have to accept responsibility for the trouble that follows. When tribulation besets you because of worldly choices, that’s when many cry out in anger “God, why did You do this?” Your own choice brought your trouble, but you still expect God’s blessing on your actions. “Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.” Judges 10:14. If you choose to follow the gods of lust, greed, and pride you cannot blame God Almighty for the outcome. Satanic evil is behind all hatred and wickedness in this world. Your own poor choices cannot be blamed on God Almighty.
Even if you’ve made choices and decisions which are based on Scripture, you’ll still have trouble in this world. Jesus didn’t promise Christians a bed of roses. We do live in a fallen world and there are many people who are ruled by Satan. If we happen to cross their path and don’t bow to their god, we may be victims of their wickedness. When we choose to follow Christ, Satan and his minions don’t give up their efforts to pull you away from the path of righteousness. Jesus did warn us. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In other translations, the word “tribulation” is translated “trouble and suffering” (NET), or “trials and sorrows” (NLT). It simply means that on this side of Heaven Christians will face troubles. Jesus said that the fact that we follow Him will cause conflict. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Matthew 10:35. He didn’t mean that it has to be this way, but if a son chooses to follow Jesus rather than follow his father along a path of sin, conflict will happen. What if a student in public school stands upon God’s word and rejects evolution or believes in a Godly moral code? There’s a professor at Iowa State University who has threatened discipline against students who “undertook projects that oppose Black Lives Matter and abortion” (https://www.foxnews.com/us/iowa-state-professor-black-lives-matter-abortion). Christian’s know that all lives matter to God (not just black ones) and that He calls murder a sin (even when condoned by law and called abortion). Would you take that class and just go along with what’s on that teacher’s agenda? If you stand firm upon God’s word, you will face tribulation.
Jesus didn’t sugar-coat His words to His disciples about what it meant to follow Him. He told them that it would take a person of strong character to follow Him in a world filled with Satan’s influence. “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. What did He mean “…take up his cross”? It doesn’t take much research to understand what carrying a cross meant in those days. Just look through the Gospels and you learn carrying a cross meant crucifixion and death. It meant that your life was over. Does that mean that when we accept Christ we are to end our life? In a way it does, but Jesus meant the lust of the flesh and self-centered attitudes are to be put to death. We are to make decisions and choices based upon Scriptural facts regardless of the trials and suffering we may face. Paul is a good example of a man who was drastically changed when he met Jesus. He had once led a life of privilege, but gave up all luxury and comfort to live his life for Christ. He understood what Jesus had meant when He said to take up your cross. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. Christian choices need to be based upon Christ’s example, even if that choice causes us trouble in this world or moves us away from the sin we once found so pleasurable, Christians must follow Christ.
Why do we have to face troubles? If you’re an athlete and want to win a race, what do you do? Do you just sit on the couch watching TV until the day of the big race? No, you train. You begin by jogging a short distance, then as you get stronger you go farther. The struggle you faced at first, disciplining yourself to make healthy choices in food and exercise, make you stronger later. Christians face trials in order to make us stronger in our faith and teach us to rely upon God. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patienc; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5. It’s never enjoyable to face troubles, but if you allow God to work in your life, you’ll come through all things stronger in your faith and God will be glorified. You’ll also be able to help others in their times of conflict and tribulation. “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4. A person who has faced tribulation in life and has come through it stronger in faith can help another Christian come through a crisis better than someone who hasn’t had many trials in life or has made ungodly choices.
Brothers and sisters, nobody enjoys going through trials. Whether those trials are in our own life or in the conflicts of the world, trust God. The riots are reprehensible and are causing distress for us who watch the lunacy, but those people filled with such hate need to learn about the saving grace of Jesus. Pray for them. Wars in the Middle East seem to never end. Personal tragedies will always cause us tribulation. Remember, it isn’t God who’s to blame. Satan is the prince of this world right now. He’s behind the turmoil and hatred. When you face illness or the death of a loved one, don’t blame God. He created a perfect place but Satan deceived Eve and Adam sinned by disobeying God. That’s when sin and death became real. If you need to blame anybody for the tribulation in the world and in your life, blame Satan. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19. That wickedness is from Satan. Satan controls the world and the people in it. Christians are of God and we need to start acting like we belong to Him. Choices, decisions, and lifestyles all need to reflect God. That won’t stop the tribulation in our life, but it will strengthen us and draw us closer to our Lord.
Things will continue to become more violent, evil, and full of tribulation. We are swiftly coming to the end of days, and prophecy is being fulfilled. As Christians we need to recognize the signs of the times and do all we can to keep ourselves right with Jesus. Christian men and women need to put Christ in the center of the family and be sure the children are being taught God’s truth instead of the lies taught in public schools. Tribulation will continue to spiral out of control, but Jesus Christ is still our individual Saviour. Serve Him instead of the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and the wickedness in high places, which are the evil entities behind the tribulations we face. As Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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