I have spent a lot of time over the years, taking trips to other nations and continents where the Gospel is better received. Yes, I know we are to “be instant in and out of season,” but nonetheless it is truly exhilarating to observe people respond favorably to the Word of God. My heart goes out to missionaries who spend a lifetime toiling away in a pagan environment and fail to see even one convert. Our church is hosting a revival the week after next. Let me contrast what a real revival is compared to what we call a revival. A real revival is when the saints of God are convicted by the Word of God. When this happens, the saints fall in line with God’s will for their lives and obey Him. The lost become saved! THAT is God’s idea of a windswept and heart touching revival. The book of Acts is one big revival. The modern definition however is different – It is when the local church hosts a guest speaker for a period of time, and he expounds upon the Word of God to the congregation and friends. These use to be very effective, prior to our nation becoming Gospel hardened. Now, the church gravitates towards other less convicting pursuits such as music concerts, block parties, trunk or treat, Easter egg hunts and the like. I attempted to advertise our revival on a contemporary Christian radio station’s website, and it has been “pending” for two weeks. Funny, when I requested promotions for contemporary musicians we just hosted, they went right through. Why is this? Well, the radio station, I will hide their identity and just call them “W Christian Lite,” promotes the feel good aspects of the Gospel and not the whole counsel of God. I appreciate all kinds of Christian music, but note the absence of key doctrines from many of the contemporary musicians: 1)Some are ashamed of the mere name of Jesus. We sometimes wonder who they are singing about when the only reference to the Lord is an impersonal pronoun. 2)Lacking also is conviction over sin and the need for repentance, without which one cannot become saved. This is often totally absent. 3)The reality of hell is rarely mentioned. 4)The need to be born again (John 3:3) and receive a new heart is omitted. …..and others. The question remains: “Is a partial “grace only Gospel,” really the Gospel. My answer is: “No way Jose.” On the bright side, the one faithful Christian radio station in our area, WSEB, will promote the revival. I will not have to even listen to check and see if they share the news of our revival. How do I know this? Because I know who the station manager is, and the preachers they feature, and the great Christian aura about their station in general. Many of our churches have false doctrine, watered down doctrine, and no longer even focus on the Bible in their teaching and preaching. The churches that are still truly faithful (and we praise the Lord for them), are often sparsely attended, with a great majority of their membership being seniors. We have arrived at the generation who knows not the Lord. When prayer and Bible reading were excised from the schools in the early 1960’s, we set the stage for our nation to turn away from the Lord. We have sown the wind, and are reaping the whirlwind. God is not mocked and we will reap what we have sown.
Hosea 8:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Galatians 6:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The Bible forecasts NOT a revival but a great falling away (apostasy) before the coming of the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 King James Version (KJV)
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Now, let not your heart be troubled. In spite of the sad conditions in our apostate nation today, this is all a forecast for a great soon coming future for the believer:
Luke 21:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Amen and amen!
Pray For Revival In America
Maranatha, Pastor Steve
Why Christians Suffer-
continued from part 5…
5)Suffering Teaches Us To Depend Upon God
We learn to put our pride on the shelf, we learn how to be humble and we learn about the grace of God. Often though, it is only when we suffer a set back that we turn to God, because there is no other place to turn to. When we are ill, or lose a loved one, or have financial problems and the like, THEN, and only then do we depend upon God because there is no one else to depend on.
When God leaves us utterly alone and does not visit us with testings and trials, we may be sure that our lives are barren. Gold is put in the fire for refining. A farmer carefully tills the soil in order to raise good crops.
Sunshine all the time only makes a desert. We need rain and storms or else how would the plants grow? How would we grow? In the midst of our difficulties we must trust God and have faith in Him. Faith must be tried in order to grow. JUST LIKE EXERCISE STRENGTHENS OUR BODIES, OUR TRIALS STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH. Without trials, how could our faith grow?
6)Suffering Teaches Us Patience
Paul said we glory in tribulations.
Romans 5:3-5 King James Version (KJV)
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 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.
Patience can be learned only by enduring. Like our faith, it must be tried. Hence patience is another blessing of our trials and tribulations.
…to be continued in Part 7
Why Christians Suffer-
Continued from Part 4… This entire eight part series will be listed under the category entitled Devotionals/Inspirationals.
3)Suffering Makes Us More Like Christ
God allows us to suffer to accomplish the ultimate purpose for which He has called and chosen us. The purpose of God in choosing and saving us is to make us more like Jesus Christ. Jeremiah was called the “weeping prophet.” We are to be conformed to the image of His Son. Jesus was called the “man of sorrows.” Is it any wonder that we will experience affliction, pain and grief as He did? Hebrews 2:10 “For it became Him, for whom are all things… in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Following Jesus means tasting Calvary and the Garden of Gethsemane, it means darkness and suffering. Paul said in Philippians 3:10 “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death.” Wherever He leads, I will go.
4)Suffering Makes Us Appreciative
We do not appreciate our blessings until we lose them. How can a day be beautiful unless we have stormy days to compare with it? I never cherished my good health until I got pneumonia. I was so weak that I could not move my little finger. I then learned how to lean on the Lord, how to pray, and how weak and feeble my body really was. This happened just after I came to Christ – after our “born again” experience, God often chastises us or allows us to suffer so we can grow in the Lord.
…to be continued
Blessings, Pastor Steve
Suffering is a doctrine that is found throughout the Word of God. The Emerging Church totally ignores this teaching. What would Job say if Joel Osteen said to him: “Have your best life now?” God builds us up through trials and tribulations, not through creature comforts and living on easy street. Following are ten reasons why Christians suffer. The list is not conclusive. A couple of them will be mentioned in this posting with more to come.
Why Christians Suffer –
1)Suffering Silences Satan
The best example is the story of the patriarch Job. When God pointed out to Satan what a good man Job was, the devil accused Job of doing it only for gain and profit which came to him materially because he feared the Lord. In order to prove his point, God allowed Satan to take his possessions, health and family. The result was that Satan was silenced. Instead of murmuring, complaining, and becoming bitter, Job praised God and said: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
How wonderful it is to see people love the Lord and smile while suffering. The next time you feel like complaining, read the diary of Ann Frank.
2)Suffering Enables Us To Glorify God
The eleventh chapter of John tells us about the death of Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus. Jesus could have healed Lazarus, but allowed him to die in order to teach a lesson to Lazarus and his two sisters. Jesus said in John 11:4: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified by it.”
….to be continued
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
We construct beautiful buildings for worship, then struggle to get people in. We have eloquent preachers but often no unsaved are there to hear them! We seem to have things back to front. The Lord’s final message before He ascended was “Go ye.” Use your feet to go into all the world to preach the gospel. He is saying to the church today, “Go ye into the high street and market; go to the homes and playgrounds; go to your friends and neighbors. Whatever else you do please go. I am waiting to make you a blessing if only you will go.” A conference held some years ago was entitled, “Go Out or Die Out.” How true. Is yours a dying assembly? -David Croudace
Go then and tell them of Jesus, it was for them He was slain
Give them, O give them the Gospel, let not their cry be in vain! -O. Smith
This trip is now in the rear view mirror, yielding memories and a spiritual impact that will be revealed in eternity. Only God knows all that was accomplished. There were sixty one total professions of faith, as seven American pastors spoke in eight Romanian Baptist Churches in the vicinity of Oradea. A wonderful pastor’s conference followed in Satu Mare, Romania.
The trip ended on an extremely high note for me. Once again, I had challenges at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW). [The first DFW adventure is on this blog site under 2012 Mission Trip To England/Uganda, Part 5]. We left Budapest early in the morning as we commenced our thirty hour journey home. The officials in Budapest would not check my luggage all the way to Florida, which meant I had to retrieve it in Dallas, and check it in once again. I already had little time between flights, and now had luggage to deal with. Add to this- going through Customs, entering security once again, and traveling to another terminal to catch the final flight home. Humanly speaking, I thought I may miss the flight, and prayed about this concern for several weeks. There was a bit of good news in our flight from Heathrow Airport /London to Dallas, Texas. Our flight came in twenty minutes early, which is common with flights that come from “across the pond,” since picking up a tailwind can take time off of the flight. But still, there was too much to do in very little time. I was wondering where my God was at my first check point – Customs. This station was a royal mess in Dallas, with several options that served only to confuse the passengers. I asked a fellow passenger which method would be fastest for an American citizen. He suggested simply having my passport scanned. I went to that station and saw hundreds of people who were “deer in the headlights,” not knowing how to place their passport in the scanner, and of course no one was there to explain how it is done because this was a government operation. I placed my passport in the scanner what seemed like twelve times without success. I was beginning to envision a night in the terminal and catching a morning flight. Then God entered the picture: An airport employee was right next to me and he correctly read my frustration. It was a miracle just to see him, as moments prior to this, absolutely no airport worker was anywhere in sight. He seemed to just materialize. He said: “He would help me.” I had NO IDEA how much he would help me. He scanned my passport in a heartbeat, and I thought that would be the end of it. Then he said: “Just stay with me, and I will put you on your flight, but you must stay with me.” He was helping a handicapped gentleman at the same time that he was assisting me. He then helped a lady with a small child, giving them a place in the line in front of us, as a true gentleman would do. He expedited my obligations, through escorting me past existing lines that I would have been in if I were alone. He explained to me that God gives preference to some, and since I was with him, I was able to receive it. I wholly agreed with him with a grateful heart. By now, I realized he was the answer to my many prayers and I told him so. As it turned out, his name was James Smith, and he was a fellow pastor from a nondenominational church. This is what we call a “God thing.” As we progressed from one check point to another, I was still a bit nervous, with the boarding time rapidly approaching. James said: “Do not worry, I am use to this, and I will get you there on time.” If I were alone, I would have been running, but James Smith’s mere presence cooled my jets and I walked with him. I never met a man like James, and I told him so. [The Texans I travelled with saw the one helping me as they retrieved their luggage. One of them previously offered to drive me to the terminal of my departure, but realized that I was in very good hands. They were amazed.] We came to my departure gate while the passengers were boarding, and James escorted me to the front, and then took me all the way through the tunnel, and unto the airplane. I had no idea that when James said: “I will help you,” to what extent he would do so. No, you cannot make this stuff up. I ask you, what are the odds for circumstances like this to happen to anyone? I will tell you – zero, zilch, nada, forget it.
What is the moral of the story? God told me that if you take care of your mission assignment, then I will assist you with the details over which you have no control. Thank you Jesus. This was a blessing to me because it was also a Divine revelation that I was in the center of His perfect will.
The future entries for this Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip will consist of several parts and give a detailed day by day account of the entire mission trip.
Maranatha and Forever Thankful, Pastor Steve
As mentioned, a detailed synopsis of this trip will be provided after the conclusion, giving my thoughts time to settle in. Right now, we are in the midst of the mission trip, and I will share a few of the highlights up until this point. The evidence of intercessary prayer is with us, as things are progressing beautifully. The travel has been fine and without incident, our team is of one accord and one spirit, no one has been ill, and the logistics and accomodations are all great. We attribute this to the prayers of the saints. We covet your continual prayers. There have been peaceful demonstrations throughout Romania, related to the populace’s rightful grievances against their government. After preaching last night, the host pastor and translater had dinner with me and we observed protests in Oradea right next to our restaurant. They were peaceful protests. The Romanian people are anything except violent. More importantly, in the service prior to our fellowship, we were blessed with a packed church with absolutely no extra seats available, and we were also blessed with four professions of faith. Because of the Lord’s blessings and your faithful prayers, the Holy Spirit is working and convicting hearts. It does not get any better than this, this side of heaven. The Romanians who we have met in the many churches are red hot for the Lord and just waiting for leadership, teaching and preaching. In other words, the pump is already primed. We have an open window of opportunity in this wonderful nation and would be foolish to not take advantage of it. Last night is why I feel led to be a part of this dynamic ministry!
Oradea, an ancient city, is filled with archaeology from both Roman and medieval times. It was formerly called Dacia, the northern most outpost in the Roman Empire, after Romania was conquered by the Emperor Trajan. Dacia was the last province to fall to the Romans. As mentioned, this is a presentation of a few highlights with much more to follow.
In His Service, Pastor Steve <><