Sometimes we come across a simple quote which seems to revolutionize the way that we consider a particular thing. The truth contained may appear to be insignificant to most; including the one who uttered the quote. But for one, the seemingly insignificant statement becomes an observation that is revisited often. For example, several years ago, we attended a church north of here for a period of time. One day, the pastor mentioned “the hundred year test.” The idea was simple – whenever something is getting us out of sorts or causing distress, we should ask ourselves “will this issue be relevant a hundred years from now?” If the answer is no, than it’s probably not very significant now. It may seem monumental at the moment, such as loss of employment, a lengthy illness, wrongful imprisonment, or what have you. But they are all temporal in nature, and, one second after one’s final breath passes, all such issues cease to be relevant.
The statement outlining the hundred year test is not found in the bible, yet there are enumerable passages and events recorded therein, which touch on the need to maintain an eternal outlook and not focus on temporary circumstances. God inhabits eternity and Jesus stated that his word would never pass away. The hundred year test narrative became very important in the months following. Our family went through a storm so intense, and coming from so many angles at the same time…..that I began battling thoughts of wanting to end my life – thoughts that a born again follower of the Lord Jesus should never “ever” entertain. By the grace of God, I learned some important things during that time. First, I learned how to renounce such voices which came directly from the pit. Second, I began to let go of physical attachments which had previously been a struggle. And third, when a substantial loss of physical assets became a reality, it was like a massive liberation. My heart was no longer attached to those things.
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Our life in this world is but a vapor; a spark that shines for a split second and then disappears forever from this realm. Maintaining this eternal perspective will enable us to arrange our priorities in a proper manner. In recent months, other quotes have caught my attention. All of these were found as pictures on social media and, subsequently, I have no idea as to who originally presented them. They are by no means a substitute for scripture. Again; Gods word is eternal and by it we discern between truth and error. Every time confusion arises in my life, bible verses which address the issue are quickly brought to remembrance. Nonetheless, these phrases have had an impact….beginning with:
“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”
I am a quiet person who likes to be at peace with everyone as much as possible. Sometimes the pressure to compromise seems nearly overwhelming, and, in such instances, I tend to hurry my speech and trip over words easily. This fault has always troubled me because the righteous are supposed to be as bold as a lion. And if this is a struggle now, what will be the result of having to stand for truth when doing so will mean a quick exit from the theater of atoms…..or will result in those of my household being harmed? This passage, not only provided another angle of consideration, it became a prayer. “Lord Jesus; please let every syllable that comes out of my mouth be truth….even if I struggle to get it out and become totally disoriented in the process.” Even if speaking the truth results in the loss of everything in this life.” Standing for truth; maintaining our testimony of Jesus until our final breath is how we overcome this evil world. Speaking truth is also the only way that others can be delivered from death.
Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
“For it is the power of God.” A few days ago, I read the account of a man who pastors a large church in Tennessee. He has succumbed to the pressure to embrace the same-sex lifestyle. Despite his years of assembling sermons and presenting biblical truth before a congregation of thousands, he finally caved under the immense pressure to agree to something that, thirty years ago, would have been unthinkable in most evangelical churches. Yet, today, in church after church, the preaching the gospel with power is being replaced with the false wisdom of this world and an entertainment-driven agenda which draws in a large crowd, but doesn’t offer any spiritual nourishment. The pastor seemed conflicted as he announced this change of policy, however, it goes without saying that the seeds of compromise were planted long before the official announcement. Whether it was fear of losing members, fear of ridicule, or love of this world, the snare finally yielded visible fruit.
Matthew 10:18-20 “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”
The pressure to compromise is gaining momentum by the day, and we must be prepared to stand for truth. Throughout the book of Acts the apostles are filled with the Holy Ghost and speak the words of life boldly. We should seek to be in such a place to do likewise; abiding close to Jesus and trusting that he will meet us in that moment. It goes without saying, however, that we are not always in our most spiritual state and the enemy may well corral us when we are not fully watching. When such a situation arises, we must be prepared to speak truth…..even if it comes out shaky and sounds unconvincing. Another statement that I heard recently contained words to this effect: “The enemy will not entice us with blatant things……he simply wants to get us to go along with him on something – no matter how insignificant.” Once he gets a proverbial foot in the door, he can set up shop and begin hammering away at our resolve.
I’m convinced that very few of us are fully prepared for what we are soon to face in this physical realm. No matter how accurate ones eschatology may be, (or may not be) all who are present when the bottom falls out will witness things that they weren’t expecting. We must maintain the testimony of Jesus; even when every shred of evidence and every ounce of momentum seems to be favoring a conclusion that is contrary to scripture……even if our eschatology has become unraveled…….even if our voice shakes and our words are classified as foolishness by those who have already secured their place in the lake of fire. The testimony of Jesus Christ is our proverbial “Alamo” when nothing that we see is making sense; knowing that he has washed away our sin with his own blood and that we are but a heartbeat away from being forever in his presence.”
“This world is the only hell that a Christian will ever know. This world is the only heaven that the wicked will ever know.”
Three portions of scripture instantly come to mind in regards to this truth. Psalm 37 and psalm 73 speak of when the wicked seem to be prospering at everything they do; yet the time comes when their time ends and all of their aspirations cease. In Luke chapter 16, we read about the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was an outcast, but has now been with Jesus for over two thousand years……while the rich man is still thirsty. In this life, the wicked often seem to get away with their wickedness” while those who stand for truth are troubled on every side and their cries for justice unheard. When we see this transpiring, it’s important to maintain an eternal perspective and remember that “everything is being recorded.” Nobody is getting away with anything, and unless a person believes on the Lord Jesus; sincerely repenting of, and turning from, their sin, they will give account for every syllable, every deed, every thought, every motive, and every evil campaign that they stood in agreement with during their days in the land of the breathing.
A strange thing is happening in the opening quarter of 2015. Wickedness is on the rise on every front; fueled by an official narrative which calls evil good and good evil. A president sits in Washington who refuses to equate islam with terrorism, but has no problem classifying Christians, constitutionalists, and anyone who stands for traditional family values as potential terrorists. In church after church, the standard is being lowered to embrace all manner of wickedness, while those who preach the truth of Gods word are becoming increasingly rare. Liberty is steadily vanishing and peace is being taken from the earth. Revelation 13:7 reads “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Their hatred of us will be unrestrained…..but they cannot pursue us beyond the grave and, once our testimony is completed, we will never again have to face our adversaries.
II Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
I Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
“Those who have walked through the fire, leave sparks of light everywhere they go.”
this quote came from a secular source, however, it touches on a truth that is both incredible, and ominous. On the morning of march 1, 2015, I saw a nearly four year old video featuring Brigitte Gabriel; a lady that I had never heard of before. She grew up in Lebanon and remembers when it was a prosperous and open society. She also witnessed what happened when Muslims became the majority of the population and began seeking to destroy all of the “infidels.” She lived in a bomb shelter for years while she and her parents survived on dandelions and whatever else could be found. Finally, they were facing certain extermination, until the Israeli army began standing in the gap. She was giving her testimony before a very large congregation and I wondered…..how many of them actually heard her words, considered their significance, and responded accordingly. I also wondered how many went their way afterward, thinking “that was an inspiring message” but were not changed by it.
The video of Brigitte Gabriel can be viewed Here
Those who have been through the fire have a different perspective than those who have had a time of relevant ease. Not only does such tribulation factor in when eternal reward is granted, those who have been through the fire have a story which can inspire others to take more serious about the issues that really matter, become involved in areas that they may not have considered previously…..and prepare for a time when they too may have to face adversity…….because someday, the beheading of Christians isn’t going to be restricted to a few countries in the middle east and northern Africa. (Actually, there is much more going on, even now, than is being reported by the primary media outlets.)
Acts 8:4 “Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
Philippians 1:12-14 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel:
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
This post is already too long, however, one more thing has to be included.:
II Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort:
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
In the second paragraph, I mentioned a dark season where I was actively contemplating something horrific, and how the Lord brought me through that season. That season ended up making me stronger and more focused on the eternal, however, it did something else as well. I can better comfort and encourage anyone who is going through a similar situation; having been on the brink of destruction myself. Beforehand, if someone had come to me contemplating such a thing, I could have given a few bible verses on why they should not do it, however, I would be unable to fully relate to their dilemma. But now I can offer another perspective….as one who has been there, and not simply a stranger quoting scripture. (not to downplay scripture – Gods word never returns void) Nearly all of us have had seasons of affliction and turmoil which have made us what we are today, and placed us in a position to minister to any who are going through a similar season.
All of us; that is, every saint who is currently alive in this world, is being prepared for what lies ahead. (I had wanted to delve into Daniel 11:32-35, but this is already too long.) There will come a moment when most of our contemporaries will be unable to deny the trends that most of us see taking place already. When this happens, there will be small “windows of opportunity” where they will be receptive to truth and will diligently seek out anyone whom they perceive as having answers to what is transpiring. (some will cleave to us with flatteries.) Those who are born of the Spirit will be able to reach some of them, however, these opportunities will be short lived. According to scripture, most will succumb to the official narrative; a narrative that was hatched in hell and will be accompanied by signs and lying wonders. Those who still reject the truth will believe the strong delusion……and ultimately turn on anyone who maintains the testimony of Jesus. Maintaining an eternal perspective, with our affections firmly upon the Lord Jesus is imperative. A hundred years from now, all of us will be in our eternal situation.
Blessings in Jesus name.