As the Lord leads, I write to encourage the hearts of His faithful saints in the aftermath of my posts from July 4, 2021. In particular, I remind you that all we temporarily now, and will suffer through to the end of our mortal lives or the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is worth it since we are richly rewarded by Him eternally (Romans 8:18)! Until then, you know that it is our privilege to suffer to whatever extent we do in His likeness and cause to His glory (1 Peter 4:12-16). Trust me; I already know this is easier said than done. Yet, this is God’s will for us in spite of the falsehood in much of American Christianity that makes personal dream fulfillment, health and material prosperity its focus.
What exactly are we suffering for at the end of the day as Christians? Is it not for the sake of Christ as His followers and the Kingdom of God He represents as King and Judge?1 Yes, and He does not deceive us about the cost of following Him until He returns to bring the Kingdom of God to earth declaring plainly to all: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross (an instrument of suffering and death), and follow Me,” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, NKJV). Moreover, He soberly urges such ones to “count the cost” which is very steep in prioritizing first love for and sacrificial service to Him in His Kingdom causes (Luke 14:25-35, NKJV).2
This is just as He also lived and served His Father during His earthly sojourn; suffering the agony and humiliation of being crucified naked on a Roman cross to bring about our salvation as foretold (Psalm 22:1-18; Isaiah 53:1-9; John 3:13-17, 19:28-30). As our example in everything, He who insists we be prepared to suffer for Him and His Kingdom causes, suffered first and far greater than any of us that follow Him ever will (Matthew 10:16-33; John 15:18-25; 1 Peter 2:18-25)!3 Thus, as those redeemed for the Kingdom we suffer for its present message in the Gospel from God calling mankind to repent of sin and believe on King Jesus for salvation (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 17:30-31)!
Too, we suffer now, as He did for the Kingdom’s transcendent eternal principles, morality and ethics well articulated in the Bible (Psalm 119:89; Luke 21:33). God has given men freewill and the right to refuse the Gospel and Kingdom. Stirred by demons and hardened in heart by sin, many who reject the Gospel and Kingdom are not simply content with rejection, but feel it necessary to persecute believers among other wicked motives to justify themselves. The uncompromising stand of the faithful our God is “the only true God,” His Gospel the only means of mankind’s salvation and His Word the sole “truth” infuriates them (Isaiah 43:10-13, 44:6-8; John 3:18-21, 17:1-3, 14-17, NKJV).
Atheists, other secular unsaved, jaded unbelieving professed Christians as weak or outright false brethren and religionists along with apostates persecute the faithful around the earth with hostile mockery, scoffing, exclusion from family and community relations as well as support, destruction of personal and church properties, incarceration, physical violence and martyrdom as foretold. As also foretold, however, God will vindicate the suffering His saints have endured and our long wait in faith since the 1st century A.D. for it beginning with the destruction of counterfeit Christianity’s mother (Revelation 17:1-19:4). This is followed by Christ’s glorious return (2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)!
On that special one of a kind day, God in Christ will show the world how much He valued the faithfulness of His saints by glorifying us for all to unavoidably see. For the dead in Christ that are raised and His mortal remnant will receive from Him their immortal bodies aglow with the brilliant eternal glory of God shining from them against the backdrop of the darkened heavens as we obey His summons to join His glorious presence in the sky (Isaiah 13:9-10; Daniel 12:2-3; Zechariah 14:5b-7; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)! For most of the unsaved on that day, our eternal glorification will be among the last things they see alive on earth.
Gentile survivors with the protected elect Jewish remnant will see our reign with Christ over this earth and universe follow our glorification and full outpour of divine wrath (Daniel 7:13-14, 21-22, 27; Revelation 7:1-8, 20:4-6). We will reign as kings and judges as with all things pertaining to the eternal Christian life, in the image of Christ!4 This is exceedingly greater than Noah and Lot’s after wrath experiences! So then, let the faith in our God of the faithful--even every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ--take to heart all He has promised us as vindicating victory and be comforted in “the whole counsel” of His Word (Acts 20:27, NKJV).5 This is as I wrote to you in a previous word of encouragement.6 Our suffering for Christ is not in vain (James 5:7-12).
1 Read the August 1, 2021 post, Jesus Christ King And Judge!, under the category, Instruction.
2 See the two-part post beginning August, 18, 2019, Lined Up Behind Jesus, under the category, Instruction.
3 See the two-part post beginning May 17, 2020, Persecution, Hatred And Betrayal and Persecution Of American Christians Intensifying on November 29, 2020, both under
the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the July 19, 2020 post, Ruling The Earth Under Christ, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
5 As I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are the Lord’s faithful! The book and
companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study are available at your favorite internet book seller and in the
Strong Man Store.
6 See the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
In light of what the Lord led me to write in the two-part post, Flavorless Salt Is Worthless, under the category, Call To Repent beginning August 2, 2020, He has given me a word of exhortation and encouragement for all of us that will be His faithful during these times of spiritual confusion, apostasy and His judgment. We or our faithful spiritual descendants that endure until the Lord comes as promised are not the first to have to live through such days waiting on Him to bring about deliverance and reversal. God’s faithful are a who’s who on His roll call of faith in the Bible that surround us as “so great a cloud of witnesses” headed up by our Lord Jesus Himself (Hebrews 11:4-12:2, NKJV)!
Among God’s faithful listed by the writer of Hebrews and inspirational to me personally serving by appointment of the Lord, are the Old Testament prophets in whose office of responsibility I also serve according to Ezekiel 33:1-9 during this New Testament era (Ephesians 4:11-16). One of the major Old Testament prophets was Isaiah who was called and used mightily by God to speak, write and act out His Word amidst the divided house of Israel, though, his messages were primarily to the two southern tribes and kingdom of Judah (Isaiah 6). Over 2,700 years later, those messages for the people and personalities of his times are saturated with prophetic import that reaches us today.
Up through the eighth chapter of his book, Isaiah foretells the judgment of God upon Judah for sin and imminent invasion of the northern kingdom’s ten tribes by the dominant power of the day, Assyria, for the wickedness of spiritual confusion and apostasy fed by idolatry. In that eighth chapter too, he is instructed by God about how he and all the other faithful to Him were to handle themselves during the times of spiritual confusion and apostasy that continued and while His judgment was taking place. For the faithful are not so by title or conferral of men, but as the very real description of their lives, words and deeds lined up with the character of God and His Word (Deuteronomy 7:9-11)!1
Like Isaiah and the faithful of his day, God first instructs us to “not walk in the way of this people;” the disobedient and unfaithful that in their spiritual blindness get caught up in the confusion of speculative conspiracy theories about the times. This is evidence that people have spun conspiracy theories from ancient times! The only difference today is the technology leap that has allowed the innumerable and rapid proliferation of these conspiracy theories and opinions. God also instructs Isaiah and us not to be terrified by or live in dread of the people or the content of their conspiracy theories, but fear the holy God alone and take refuge in Him (Isaiah 8:11-14a, NKJV).
To the unfaithful that choose not to fear God and let Him be their “sanctuary,” He will be “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” as in Jesus Christ, His Son, He has been “to both the houses of Israel” in unbelief; “a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” to this hour! The unfaithful “stumble” (fall away) and become captives to Satan for destruction because of their unbelief fed disobedience to “the Word,” (Isaiah 8:14b-15; 1 Peter 2:6-8, NKJV).2 Seeing the end for the unfaithful, Isaiah exhorts his “disciples” as also God’s to “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among” themselves; “wait on the Lord” in the time of judgment and “hope in Him,” (Isaiah 8:16-17, NKJV).
Isaiah presented himself and his two sons with God given names of prophetic significance that when fulfilled, would be additional affirmation of the right choice the faithful make to trust in God and His Word (Isaiah 8:18). We have the joy of that additional affirmation of God’s prophetic Word fulfilled in experiencing the power of the first coming of Christ through the Holy Spirit as testified to by His eyewitness apostles (Acts 2:1-39; Hebrews 2:10-18; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 1 John 1:1-4)! So, as Isaiah admonishes, we do not consult with psychics or the occult; nor do we trust in “lying wonders” Satan will soon be allowed to perform or blindly stay tethered to local churches under judgment where false teaching is going forth (Isaiah 8:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 18:1-8, NKJV).3
Indeed, many of the elder faithful in this generation rightly understand their faithfulness has been displayed in part by their attendance, participation in and financial support of a local church. However, as God has had me warning many years, not only can a local church become corrupt, but He shuts them down in judgment as thousands per year have been before His Coronavirus judgment.4 Now, in His Coronavirus judgment where most churches have been temporarily closed by government safety decree, we are to clearly understand it is not attendance and participation at buildings God values above all, but obedience!5 Therefore, if a local church is not being obedient to God’s Word, the faithful are to leave after lovingly attempting to urge repentance if possible.
For the faithful in all epochs the rallying cry is “to the Word of God” as it is written--undiluted, uncorrupted and uncompromised (Isaiah 8:20)! Even knowing there were some minor human copyist errors in the Old Testament scrolls He read and quoted from that adversaries love to point up, the Lord Jesus staked His life and teaching ministry on the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11, 5:17-48; Luke 4:16-21); His apostles, its perpetual trustworthiness and value to believers (2 Timothy 3:13-17). In a time of spiritual darkness, confusion, apostasy and God’s judgment (Isaiah 8:21-22), the faithful look to, trust in and stand on the Word of God to endure to the end He has prepared; for we have seen and know the “great light” that has dawned and is soon to overspread the earth (Isaiah 9:1-7, NKJV).
1 Because of this truth, in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics, I am led by the Lord to teach faithfulness as a fruit of the Spirit and required character
trait of aspiring strong men and great women of God in His image! A print copy or digital download of the book is available at major internet booksellers such as
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
2 Read the February 2, 2014 post, The Falling Away, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
3 See the two-part post that begins May 21, 2017, Beware False And Deceitful Brethren, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the reposts chronicling my own experience with the judgment of God upon local churches and prophecy He gave me concerning them beginning on August 30,
2015 with When Strong Men Of God Weep, followed by Death Of A Church--One Year Later and Praise For The Lord God Almighty! These were all posted under the
category, Glory To God!
5 This being true as the whole Bible teaches, a number of pastors are bringing shame on Christ and the faith by insisting on holding gatherings at their buildings in dis-
obedience to the government. This is not about Constitutional rights and government intrusion into religion, but righteous submission and obedience to a secular
government’s best effort to fulfill its divine mandate to protect its citizens from harm. And professed Christians that ostensibly answer to the God that brought the pes-
tilence are being disobedient claiming a right to worship? If we really want to worship God that bad, have we forgotten the individual Christian in any circumstance
always can since our bodies are His temples (John 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20)? Also, God is not doing a new thing in our not being able to assemble at
buildings. He has reminded us of the old thing from His Word where the smallest corporate form of the local church is a family in a house with teaching and worship
led by men as His chosen heads if there (Acts 2:44-47; Romans 16:3-5; 1 Timothy 3:1-7). Get the free download, Men Leading Family Worship At Home in the
Strong Man Store for such times as these and till the end. Otherwise, we know what is really behind the pushback by some pastors and churches to the point of
being willing to put people in harm’s way: the loss of income. Rather than disobeying the governing authorities trying to protect people, I exhort all to take their instruc-
tions on public gatherings as from God and His call to repent seriously during His Coronavirus judgment (Isaiah 26:20-21; 1 Peter 2:11-17)!
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