Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

If you are reading this, you’ve made it through another year. Considering the times in which we live, it almost makes a person feel like congratulating themselves. Now we begin our journey into the uncharted, and in many ways dreaded, waters of 2012. What the future holds for each of us in detail no one can truly know except the Lord. We do know, however, that with each passing year more biblical prophecies are being fulfilled, and the challenges we face as a nation, and as Christians seem to be mounting up like tidal waves.

On the other hand, with every new year some of us tend to remember events and situations that not only occurred in the old year, but in past years as well. It seems the older I grow the more frequently cherished scenes from my childhood and younger years bubble to the surface where they burst upon my mind’s eye. Such cherished, yet obscure, memories flood my soul with an acuteness that embraces the different senses. In other words, it’s as if I can still hear the salty waters of Puget Sound lapping against the hull of the small wooden fishing boat that my parents rented to go salmon fishing. I can hear the sputter of the unreliable outboard motor, and I can even recall the smell of the exhaust fumes wafting my direction which never failed to result in the misery of seasickness. Now, thankfully, I can relive such moments in a happier frame of mind, minus the seasickness.

For me, poignant memories are usually spontaneously triggered by different sights, sounds, tastes, and smells that suddenly take me back to different points in my life. All of this causes me to look up in awe at the great Creator who fashioned us in such a marvelous way. However, not all memories I have are delightful and no doubt the same holds true for everyone. All of us have failed along the way—failed to consider God and others; failed to respond in love because of our selfishness; failed to do what was needful and right; failed to make righteous and wise decisions and then failed to go to the Lord with a humble heart, confess and repent of it in order to receive His forgiveness and healing. To be sure, memories are painful when the heart has not been made whole, and the spirit healed of its wounds—wounds either inflicted upon it by our own wrongdoing, or wounds put there by others.

In one of my previous articles about misdirected sympathy I indicated that such sympathy had overruled common sense and good judgment, causing me to make some very poor decisions which resulted in grief, misery, loss, and devastation. The loss of material goods is one thing and can be bad enough, but the loss of understanding and acceptance from friends and family is hard to bear. So many people have heavy hearts because of the loss of reputation and self-respect. Others are depressed, having given up all hope of ever seeing their dreams materialize. Sickness and physical pain are also a deep, dark valley that countless people dwell in, along with encroaching old age that erodes health, vitality, energy, and physical life itself. There are people who live day and night with the searing pain of losing a child, or a loved one, either through death or disappearance. There seems to be no end to the regrets, suffering, misery, and sorrow that afflicts life on this planet.

In spite of it all, there is great hope for the future. We have this hope today in Jesus Christ who is ‘the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” Even though He may not return today, or tomorrow, this hope will come. It will come because, regardless of how we feel, how low we get, or how fragile our faith may be, “yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” 2 Timothy 2:13b. Our souls must have an immovable anchor that cannot be moved even though the physical heavens above and the earth beneath are destroyed. Hebrews 6:17-20 assures us, “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

The Apostle Peter, concerning our hope, wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” 1 Peter 1:3-5. Peter not only writes of hope, but of a “lively hope”. This is not just a flimsy “hope so” feeling, but a hope that is living, and alive with Spirit and truth, filled with power and joy. This hope is tangible because it is embodied in the resurrected Christ. He is our hope and He is our incorruptible, and undefiled, inheritance that will never fade away.

      Consider the things that you have lost through the years due to the passing of time, or consequences of your actions or others. What have you lost because of poor judgment or circumstances beyond your control? Material things are corruptible, and most do fade away. We may cherish items that bring back special memories of loved ones, or of a time in the past that was sweeter, happier, or more innocent, but the truth is, we cannot take such items with us when our allotted time on earth comes to an end. Our promised inheritance is so much greater because within such great glory and joy, there will be no more nostalgia, regret, mourning, sadness, and feelings of pathos and loneliness. We cannot even begin to comprehend the width and height of the joy of the Lord.

This great inheritance is undefiled. My heart overflows with joy, awe and reverence at this promise. As this world sinks deeper and deeper into the repulsive foulness of unabated debauchery, evil, sin, and wickedness, its defilement seemingly permeates the very air we breathe. This defilement is everywhere because of man’s rebellion against the God of heaven. The very food that God gave to mankind for the health of his body is defiled, thanks to genetically altered produce, hormones, chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics. Even aborted babies have found their way into major food producers in America (and vaccines as well) as discovered by investigators into this unspeakable atrocity. Talk about defilement! Our water is defiled, and our air is deliberately being poisoned through incessant chemtrail spraying which is a top secret ploy to eliminate at least 80% of the world’s population. It goes without saying, it is no secret that mankind has given power to Satan’s one-world devices through greed, immorality, idolatry; uncleanness; witchcraft, hatred, and the lust for fame, fortune, and control. (Example: Galatians 5:19:20, 21.) There can be no doubt that we are living in the last days as foretold by Jesus and the prophets.

Today, defilement of the Word of God through Scripture twisting and watered-down so-called “versions” of the Bible is global. From pulpit to pew, this defilement is prevalent through pride, idolatry, unbelief, wicked imaginations, lust, and immorality of every sort, not to mention heresies, witchcraft, sorcery (drugs), superstition, blasphemies, and New Age beliefs and practices. Of course, this is all done with the name of Jesus tacked on in some way, or in the name of “love.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7 provides us with a good check list of what to watch for in our day that indicates we are in the “last days.” God’s people desperately need to wake up and discern the signs of the times!

With all of this in mind, as we return to 1 Peter 1:4, 5, we have a fresh appreciation and longing for that incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that God has given us through Jesus. We also read that our inheritance “fadeth not away.” This inheritance is not illusive, like the proverbial carrot dangling in front of the donkey’s nose: no one can step in and snatch it from us, leaving us in a beggarly situation, neither can it ever be destroyed by the antichrist in the visible world, or Satan in the invisible world. It is our inheritance, “reserved in heaven” for us.

How do you know that you are one who will receive this precious and priceless inheritance? The answer is inverse 2 of 1 Peter 1 which reads, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” We cannot sanctify ourselves through self-effort. Sanctification is the work of the Spirit to set us apart unto God so that “by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of  your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” Romans 12:1, 2.

      According to verse 5 of 1 Peter 1:5, we are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Destroying that precious faith is the goal of the enemy, beginning in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, and progressing through time past, time present, and as recorded in God’s Word, time to come. It was Job’s faith that Satan targeted through tragedy and great loss, yet Job maintained his integrity. How many people who have suffered great loss can stand and proclaim with Job, “Though he slay  me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him” Job 13:15, 16.

As each day fades into another, we sense that time, as we know it, is fast drawing to a close. In “the last time” those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation will greatly rejoice “though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” 1 Peter 1:6b-9.

As we enter 2012, let us do so with faith in our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and immutable God, in assurance of our inheritance in the blessed hope of Jesus Christ. In spite of the troubled times in which we live, we have great and precious promises. Therefore, seek those things which can never be lost, watch and pray, and“Let not your heart be troubled” John 14:1a. Rejoice, for we have this sure word of promise in Romans 8:21-25, “Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

      May the Lord bless and keep you unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!