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Gales of November

November 10, 2006

II Corinthians 11:23-28  “Are they the ministers of Christ?  (I speak as a fool)  I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  Of the Jews five times received I fourty stripes save one.  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep;  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, ihn perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”

I would venture to say that whatever turmoil is in your life at this moment, it probably doesn’t compare to what the apostle Paul endured in his life.  He was a man who truly “loved not his own life in this world” meaning that his foremost desire was to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  His eyes were focused on the world to come and as a result, labored ever so diligently to further the gospel.  He was a man who earnistly desired to be with the Lord and yet knew that he was needed here.  This next verse records his response to the brethren as they were abiding in the house of Philip the evangelist and they were trying to persuade him to not go to Jeusalem.

Acts 21:13  “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

His steadfast attitude is further displayed in Philippians.

Philippians 3:8  “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”

He loved the Lord Jesus so much and was so minded of the world to come, that the storms, beatings, imprisonments, humiliating treatment, and everything else that he endured was as nothing.  Thie is not to say that these things are fun; it just means that he saw the bigger picture. 

Have you ever had someone tell you this? “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.”  (Usually it’s spoken by folks who are earthly minded.)  I would contend that it’s not possible to be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.  When you are truly minding the things that be of God, you’ll be aware of those around you who don’t know Jesus as their Savior.  You’ll be fervent in prayer for them and striving for opportunities to share the gospel.  You’ll not be spending precious time “naming and claiming” a swimming pool if you’re heavenly minded.  The apostle Paul was heavenly minded and we have over half of the new testament as a result.  Know this; that the more diligent that you are about the furtherance of the gospel, the more tribulation you’ll have.  One night at work, another brother and I were discussing how those who spread false doctrine have no trouble getting their message out.  This is because the devil doesn’t come against false teachings.  The devil would love for you to become a Mormon and believe another gospel.  They deny the deity of Jesus Christ and they deny the infalliability of the scriptures.  Therefore, the devil loves for them to compass sea and land to make one proselyte.  But if you proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; the express image of his person, who died for sinners, and rose from the dead, you can expect the forces of darkness to come “full throttle” against you.  When you determine that you’re going to live a godly life, folks are going to ridicule you.   When you begin to get really close to the Lord, you’ll find an increasing number of professing “christians” coming against you.  In fact you may very well have more resistance from “religious folks” than you will the average citizen. 

I Peter 4:4-5  “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.  Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”

John 16:2  “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

Toil and trouble; trials and tribulation.  We were told that in this world we would experience these things.  II Timothy 3:12 reads “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  Likewise in Acts 14:22, you read how that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”  This doesn’t mean that you’ll be depressed by any means.  If you’re born again and filled with the Holy Ghost you have nothing to be depressed over.  Here’s what Paul wrote to those in Thessalonica.

I Thessalonians 1:6  “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost”

Affliction and joy in the same moment.  The true peace and supernatural joy of the Lord is beyond the reaches of the physical world.  The world cannot determine whether or not you have it.  They can come against you in the physical realm but they cannot touch your soul. 

Today is November 10, which means that I am now 42 years old.  The United States Marine Corps is celebrating  231 years of fighting our nations battles “in the air, on land, and sea.”  Also on this day in 1975, (when I turned 11) the Edmond Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, claiming the lives of 29 men.  This vessel was loaded with Taconite and “coming back from some mill in Wisconsin.”  There was  an intense storm (gales of November) as they steamed into the eastern part of the lake.  Moments before disapearing from radar, they gave their final transmission, stating “We’re holding our own”  I bring this up; not so much because it’s the anniversary of this horrific event, but because as this age comes to a close, you can expect upheaval like no other time in history, to appear with little or no warning.  The coming persecution will separate the wheat from the tares and the faith of many will be made shipwreck.  Never has it been more urgent to establish your heart.  Almost every post has this recurring theme but it’s ever so needful.  Very few are watching anything other than television with its endless parade of mind-numbing gobbledygook.  JESUS CHRIST IS RETURNING!  This very fact warrants your utmost attention as you will stand before him. 

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