Many years ago, my mind was in the “middle of a muddle,” as to how to pray for one of my children who was having a difficult time. In His mercy, He heard my cry and showed me how He could work miracles in muddles, if I would have faith in the midst of it. It’s only faith when we are going through it, not afterward when God has already worked His miracles for us. Sure enough, He helped that daughter, changing her situation and blessing her greatly. There are always problems and difficult situations, but His mercy is more than enough to meet the needs.
If you detect some alliteration, some use of the letter “m” in the above paragraph, it is because, after prayer concerning what to write about this week, my eye was captured by the phrase in Lamentation 3:32, “But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”
Check out Psalm 145:8-9, which proclaims, “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Please note the promises in verses 18-20. “The LORD is near to all them that call upon Him, to all that call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear Him: He also hears their cry and saves them. The LORD preserves all who love Him: but all the wicked He will destroy.”
I started to entitle this, “having courage in hard times,” as it looks like we are there and headed for even worse, especially if one is a Christian with a real biblical worldview and who is standing up for godly, traditional values. Jesus promised us persecution, but we have not seen much of it in America. The times are changing.
The Church in America is being split apart. Some are going the way of God’s people in the Old Testament who were doing “what was right in their own eyes,” Judges 21:25. Others are beginning to cling more to what God teaches in the Bible about how we are to live, seeking God and His holiness and praying for Him to help us shun sinful worldliness, and to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” Jude 1:3.
Presently, there has arisen a group of teachers that are in a movement called Progressive Christianity; however, it just sounds like “another gospel” to those who know the Word of God. They embrace lifestyles that are branded as sin in the Bible, and they reject the idea that Jesus is the only way to the Father and His way of salvation. In fact, they reject the whole idea of hell. Many also espouse universalism, which claims that everyone will be saved in the end. (Why do we even need Jesus?) Some big names in Christianity seem to be being pulled into this poisonous movement.
God’s offers His love and mercy to those who repent of their sins, but He promises wrath and judgement upon those who dare to propagate this kind of false gospel, taught by “false teachers.” God’s Word is Truth, and we are warned not to change it in any way. The words mercy and truth are both found in Psalm 57:10, “For Your mercy is great to the heavens, and Your truth to the clouds,” (see also Psalm 85:10).
God proved His love and mercy for us when He gave us His Son, “that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. The New Covenant gospel was given primarily to the apostle Paul, who strongly charged believers not to change it, even going so far as to say, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8.
We who call ourselves Christians, believers in Jesus, must meet persecution as the apostle Peter reminded us, “But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” I Peter 2:20. He also said, in I Peter 4:1-2, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking: for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”
Paul is an example of one who suffered great persecution for the preaching of the gospel. After Paul’s Damascus Road experience, God said, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts 9:16. (See II Corinthians 11:23-28 for a long list of the persecutions he had to endure.) But He never wavered, saying, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19.
Paul said of his experiences, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison;” II Corinthians 4:17. And in Romans 8:18, he muses, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” It seems obvious that Paul was well aware of the multitudinous mercies of God, even in his own life.
God’s mercies are so obvious in Romans 8, as in verses 26 and 27, which both assert the intercession of the Holy Spirit for us. Also verse 34 declares the intercession of Christ for us. And the following verses 35-39 list so many things, promising actually that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If the true Bible-believing Church suffers persecution, it is understood that “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” I Peter 4:14. I am reminded of an account of a believer called Andrew in a country that was not open to the gospel, who was asked how he kept his beliefs secret. He said he didn’t, and he even wore a button that advertised his church. When he was arrested, he would tell them they needed Jesus, too. Could we be that bold, even when persecuted?
Speaking of God’s mercy toward us, are we willing to be loving and merciful? We are admonished in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.”
Jesus is really coming soon. In His mercy, He said the Church would not suffer the wrath of God. I do not know if that means the Church will go to be with the Lord in the Rapture before or after the Tribulation, or even in the middle, but we must be ready.
Live for Jesus! He’s coming soon! You may contact me at email@example.com or 601-635-3282.