Our Victorious Lord!

“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” -Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)

Persecution comes in many forms. For Christians living in certain parts of the world, it is violent and lethal. For those Christians living in places where the right to worship freely is generally respected and upheld, their persecution is more subtle and psychological. In both cases it can cause great discouragement and we doubt whether if Christ’s message really does possess the final victory.

However, if we look at history we will find that even through the most brutal of persecutions, Christ and His Church have always emerged triumphant. The Soviets, at the height of their power, boasted that they would parade the last Christian in the U.S.S.R on state television before executing him. Yet in the end, it was Communist state which crumbled while the Church continued to grow. A more contemporary example can be seen in China. Despite vicious crackdowns on Christians during Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and government persecution which continues even to this day, the Church in China is experiencing exponential growth. Many are not only accepting Christ into their lives, but are remaining steadfast in their devotion to Him even under threats of imprisonment or torture.

If something is ordained by God to be fulfilled, it will happen. God is sovereign over the world. Who can stand before His omnipotence and all-knowing wisdom? The greatest examples of wisdom and power amongst men are but examples of foolishness and weakness before Him. Nothing and no one will be able to resist His good and perfect will. As His children, we can take comfort in the fact that since He has initiated His redemptive mission for humanity, He will bring it to its fruition. God will bring about the day when, as Paul describes in Philippians 2:10-11, “…at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Paul himself realized the futility of fighting God’s will for he was once Christianity’s most ardent adversary. What will be our decision? Will we in our stubbornness fight a battle that we cannot win? Or will we embrace Christ and partake in the victory we have in Him?

Standing Firm

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” -1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

Sometimes, the road which God has called us to walk can become hard to endure. Despite our faithfulness and diligence, obstacle after obstacle, and discouragement after discouragement, seem to be our only rewards. In the face of such adversity, it is easy to lose hope. We begin to question why we are even on this path and look for ways to escape. But as the prophet Jonah would find out centuries before us, running away from our problems is not the solution. God, with gentleness and firmness, will always bring us back to the point where we will have to confront the mission which He has laid out for us.

When God has placed us in situations, it is not without reason. Although we may not see it immediately because of the limits of our human perception, God is fulfilling His perfect will for our lives and for others. He never calls us to a task only to watch us fall. It would go against His nature, and His promise to never abandon us. Our role is to simply carry on the work He has called us to do and trust Him in His divine plan. When we encounter hard times and the pressure is against us, it is in these moments where our faith in Him who is able to overcome will be strengthened; that is if we continuously hold on to Christ. Resting in His promises to always catch us when we fall and that any good work done in His name will not return void, will encourage us when hardship seems to be our lot. By standing on the promises of God we will be able to labor diligently and joyfully knowing that victory belongs to Him. In this assurance, we will be able to enjoy watching His plan unfold before us and stand in awe of His infinite wisdom.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

An Unavoidable Light!

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” -Psalm 139:9-10 (NIV)

Nowhere on Earth is there a place that is not warmed by the sun. People living in North America are exposed to the same ball of solar energy as those living in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. Wherever we travel we can always expect the sun to make its appearance for its rays encompass the entire world. This is true even in parts of the world where the sun does not seem to shine. For nearly six months anything north of the Arctic Circle is engulfed by total darkness. But that does not mean that the sun has somehow forgotten or abandoned the desolate region. In fact it reminds the people of its existence with six months of its light!

In the same manner we cannot escape the presence of God. He is omnipresent and no matter where we are, He is there with us. When we are at the heights of elation, He is there rejoicing with us. In the pits of despair, when all our hope and joy seems to have been extinguished, He is there to comfort us and bring healing to our soul. If we find ourselves lost in the deserts of our circumstances, confused and perplexed, He is there to strengthen us and guide our path. Christ has promised that He does not abandon those who call upon His name. No situation is beyond His restorative work and when we allow Him to intervene in our lives, enthroning Him as the sole Lord of our hearts, He will not fail in proving His faithfulness. If we choose to embrace and cling to Him, we will know that He is our ever-present help. When we abide in Him our hope will never be snuffed out for our trust is placed in the One who has plans to prosper us and who has emerged victorious over the world.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.