Monday, September 9, 2019

Is God enough for you during the hard times?

And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22

In case you haven't noticed, Christians are not exactly very popular these days. Yet maybe you haven't noticed. Perhaps your family and circle of friends and associates are all Christians. Or maybe you don't let anyone know at work or school what you believe?  But I guarantee if you start wearing Jesus shirts and hats and proclaiming your faith out there in the world, you are going to see how much this world has changed in a very short time. 

I see a growing hatred for Christians in our culture. We are made fun of on TV and movies, we are belittled by Hollywood, we are called crazy, old-fashioned, even dangerous. Check out this article that lists 72 types of Americans that are now considered possible terrorists.  And see how many of the beliefs you hold.  Also check out this article where the Department of Homeland Security actually deems some Christians as Terrorist.  The Antichrist will use this term to round up Christians and have them beheaded, all in the name of protecting society.  

Hopefully, none of us will be here when it gets that bad. In the meantime, we struggle, not only with being hated and maligned, but we struggle in our own lives. Satan hates us. He's actually looking forward to us leaving in the rapture because while we are here, we are holding back his plans for world domination. Hence, he is spending his time harassing us, trying (if possible) to get us to turn away from God.  I don't know about you but I feel like I am surrounded by more problems than I've ever had. I pray for God to help me, to answer my prayers, but sometimes it seems He just isn't answering.

Then I read Hebrews 11, the hall of faith of those great men and women who came before us. I encourage you to read it for yourself. These great saints of faith believed the promises of God. They believed God was who He said He was, that He answered prayers, that He rewarded righteousness, that He would do what He promised. And they suffered greatly while they waited. 

Yet many of them never actually saw their prayers answered.  
All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Hebrews 11:13

Not only that, many of them suffered greatly while they waited
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.  Hebrews 11:35-38

How many Christians do you know who give up on God during the hard times? If their prayers aren't answered in the time and way they want, they walk away and go back to the world. Even worse, when things get rough and they face persecution, they give up.

Think right now of that one prayer you want most for God to answer, that one prayer you've been praying for a long time. What if you died before ever seeing it answered? And what if during the meantime, your life only got harder?  Would you still worship God? Would you still follow Jesus? Or are you just in love with Him for what He can do for you? Is your faith so weak that it falters when things don't go your way? 

Yes God loves you! He adores you! He died for you!  But He doesn't want you to follow Him just so you can have your prayers answered anymore than you would want your child to love you just for the things you can give them. Does God answer prayers? Absolutely! Often and miraculously!  But as our world is getting increasingly evil and Satan is getting increasingly anxious, our lives our going to become increasingly difficult until Jesus comes to get us. Some of your prayers may not get answered right away. In fact, you might have to endure some suffering in the meantime. Why? Because it's not all about you!  God has a master plan that involves millions of living souls, all of whom He desperately loves and longs to save!

What is the key to enduring, even if our prayers aren't answered in this life? Let's read how these great men and women of faith did it.

But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them Hebrews 11:16

They knew this was not their home. They had no ties to this place and time. They kept their eyes on eternity and realized they were just passing through.

Jesus said in John 14:2-4
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am

If Jesus said it, I believe it! He is coming back to take us home. And soon. So, don't stop praying and don't stop believing! 

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