These are turbulent days in which we live. There seems to be no end to the troubles faced by nations around the world. But it is only the beginning. Politicians cannot fix it, even though they make promises in their "sales pitches" to which countless souls are clinging. While many are looking for some reason to have hope, others are being overcome with a sense of hopelessness as conditions worsen on every side.
We also have the prosperity preachers "falling in line" with current trends. They still proclaim their usual promises of wealth, but now they are stooping even lower, telling listeners that God will get them out of debt if they give to the preacher's "ministry."
Do the governments, through out-of-control spending of tax-payers' dollars, have the answer to the world's present woes? Do prosperity preachers have the answer to financial problems faced by believers? Whether by governments or preachers, this shameless robbery will soon come to an end. Those who have placed their trust in man are about to receive an enormous check, but not the kind they are expecting. This time it will be a reality check. What will this "reality" mean? Will it mean peace in the midst of the storm? The reality we need can be found in the Bible.
We will look at some passages in the Word that will give us hope for such a time as this. And we have a wonderful testimony of the reality of God's hand of protection today, for He IS the same yesterday, today and forever.
What is peace?
First, let's take a look at the word peace. The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom shalom" and is defined as "safe."
In Judges 6:1-24, we read one of the many times the Lord God "saved" Israel from their enemies. Verse 16 has the promise, "And the LORD said unto [Gideon], Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man." Then in verse 23 can be found the words, "Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die." God was telling Gideon that His people would be safe. Then in the 24th verse, we read how Gideon made an altar and called it "Jehovah-Shalom" which means "God is peace," or precisely, "God is safety."
The Lord is our only safe Haven. There is no other place of safety. How do we enter that place? The answer is found in one word, "faith." Jesus asked, in Luke 18:8, if when He comes He will find faith on the earth. We must always remember that "faith" is "reliance upon Christ for salvation" and "entrusting our spiritual well-being to Him." Only in Him can be found safety; both now and eternally. And only through Him is our spiritual well-being kept. We'll touch on this later.
In Daniel's day
Most everyone knows the stories of Daniel and the other three Hebrew boys, and how they remained faithful in their trust in God. In the midst of difficult times they never wavered; they never gave in to the demands of those in power. Daniel continued to pray in his usual way, and when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were commanded to worship an idol or be subject to a fiery death, they refused to bow down. The hand of the Lord spared Daniel from death in the lions den, and the other boys were kept from a horrible fate in the fiery furnace.
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were the names of the Hebrew boys until the "prince of the eunuchs" gave them the Babylonian names "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego." Hebrew names spoke volumes by definition. These boys' names all revealed a very close connection to God. It would seem that the Babylonians were intent on silencing the Name of God when they re-named them. Sadly, it is their new names by which they are remembered these thousands of years later. Are we complicit in carrying on this Babylonian scheme?
Today, there are those who are trying to silence the Name of Jesus. They are trying to take away the privilege and right of Christians to pray, even on their own property, as we see by this article. What will those Christians do? What would we do? Have we the desire to say "no" to the "king's meat" as did Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? Will we be like Daniel, and refuse to obey the edicts passed down by tyrants? God is the same today; He will honor the faith we have in Him. He is GOD! Let us never forget. Just as Nebuchadnezzar and others witnessed God's intervention on behalf of His own, there will soon be those who witness His hand in a mighty way as He cares for the faithful.
Several months ago, a sister from Texas wrote to say the Lord had led her to my web site. Since that time, we have exchanged emails and had a few phone conversations; always sharing about the Lord's goodness and encouraging each other in the faith. On one occasion she related an amazing thing the Lord did a few years ago. I asked if she would allow me to share her testimony of God's miraculous intervention in her life. Here is her story:
This testimony is of the greatness of God and His ever-present and watchful care over us. It is meant only to glorify God and not meant in any way to suggest that I am more special to Him than any other child of His. I hope that it will promote peace and the knowledge of how safe we really are if we belong to Him.
One evening a friend of mine and our sons were leaving church (when I still attended church) and had decided to have a bite to eat before going home. The boys in the back seat voted for pizza and so we headed in that direction. This particular stretch of highway is a bit confusing and it was already dark. The highway is two lanes on both sides with a wide esplanade in the center. In addition the access roads on both sides are two-lane and two-way! I did not often drive this stretch of the highway and somehow became disoriented. I thought I was turning up the access road when in fact I had turned up on the highway and was headed directly into oncoming traffic. The traffic light ahead had just changed to green. Headed in our direction was a pickup truck and it just bolted from the intersection. Quickly I looked for a place to avoid a certain crash. On my right was the esplanade, but it dropped off shortly, and didn't seem safe; I feared that I might roll the car. Also there was a car in the other lane beside the pickup. With so little time to decide, and no real place to escape, I prepared for the worst. Suddenly the headlights of the pickup were right on us and the light was blinding! I closed my eyes and braced for the impact. Moments passed, I opened my eyes and checked the rear view mirror. To my astonishment, the tail lights of the pickup were in my mirror and we had not been hit! In some miraculous way God had suspended time, space, and dimension to save our lives. In the simplest way I know how to say it, the truck just went THROUGH us. My friend and I just looked at each other in amazement. "What just happened?" we said to each other. The boys in the back seat seemed completely unaware that anything had happened. The most wonderful peace filled us and the car. I have been in near misses before, as most of us have, and the adrenaline rush usually causes my joints to melt into jelly. But this time, just peace. We continued on for pizza and to this day I have no other explanation of how God did what He did. I have come to believe that the bright light was His presence and not so much the headlights of the truck. I also believe that our days are numbered in a way that we will leave not one day sooner than we are meant to. I have heard testimonies of too many others who faced certain death and were spared. In today's world, and all that may face us in the future, I hope that my little story will cause great trust and abundant faith in God. He is truly present every second of our lives and is our certain safety for all of our days.
Amen to that! There are other such miraculous events that have been related to me and, if I can get permission from others, we will share more for the encouragement of all.
We live in a time when our faith is being tried, and is about to be tried even further. In Revelation 3:10, we learn that there is a time of trial which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those that dwell upon the earth. The word "tribulation" means "pressure," and such pressure will reveal in whom we have placed our trust. Have we placed our trust in governments and preachers who lie? Our only hope is the Lord Who spared Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, as well as Cynthia, her friend and their sons. Their physical lives were all spared, and one day ours could be too, but it has everything to do with our . . .
We know from the account of Sodom and Gomorrah that entire cities (and nations) can receive God's judgment. But only individuals can receive His salvation. A personal relationship of trust in Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Yes, cities may be spared because of the righteous ones dwelling there, and the mercy of God on their behalf, but each individual must come to faith in His Son and entrust their spiritual well-being to Him.
Do we fully understand that our spiritual well-being is not something we have any say in? As Paul the Apostle said, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14 EMTV) The spirit realm belongs to God, even though the usurper, Satan, dwells there. If we are going to forsake all that is of the flesh, only God by His Spirit is able to accomplish it. That is what faith is! May we never turn back, attempting to be righteous in our own strength. We must abandon "self" to God. We must forsake all to His keeping, and never, never, never attempt to be "made perfect by the flesh" after having begun in the Spirit.
One "city" will be saved
There is one "city" that will be saved, of which we read in the book of Revelation. That city is New Jerusalem, as Jesus said in this verse: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and by no means shall he go out any longer. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven from My God. And My new name." (Revelation 3:12 EMTV) Again, in chapter 21, the "Lamb's bride" is called "the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God . . ." (Verses 10-11) She is holy because the Holy One indwells her -- she has the "glory of God" for which Jesus prayed in John 17.
According to the Hebrew language, "Jerusalem" means "founded peaceful." We know from news reports that present-day Jerusalem is not at peace because of the descendants of Ishmael and Esau. They are more commonly known by the "M" word, and will not be content until they have taken over the world. Already, their presence can be seen in all parts of the world as they forge ahead with their agenda, intimidating others into fear of offending them. Although they claim to be "peace-loving," they don't know the meaning of the word; they could be more aptly described as "the storm."
It is uncanny how the masses are "bowing" to this move by Abraham's "son after the flesh" to take by force the inheritance promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all who have put their trust in Jesus. As creatures of flesh, Ishmael and his ilk do not understand the things of the Spirit, and will soon learn that their "prophet" has deceived them and their god is no match for the true and living God. The Lord's Holy City will triumph because she is alive and the "Lamb is her Light" (Revelation 21:23). Might we assume that all the while Ishmael's "holy city" will remain in darkness?
Responsibility gone awry
Governments are to be overseers for the good and safety of their peoples, but instead they have become agents of tyranny against good, striking fear in the inhabitants of the land. Preachers are to be messengers who proclaim the gospel of freedom from flesh through faith in Jesus, God's son. But instead, many have become agents of greed, placing people in bondage through misinterpretation of God's Holy Word. Very soon, the promises from governments, and the promises from prosperity preachers will be exposed as nothing but empty words. It will be a sad day for those who have willingly submitted to such evil deception. As David said, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD, than to put confidence in princes." (Psalm 118:8-9)
The Lord made it very clear that if we trust in man we are departing from the Lord. He spoke these words through Jeremiah the prophet:
Thus saith the LORD: Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good comes; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land and not inhabited. Jeremiah 17:5-6
Is Jesus your Reality? Do you know His voice? Will you recognize His voice in the midst of the coming storms? He is our Peace as Paul said in Ephesians 2:14. May we all be in that number that make up the "founded peaceful" holy city, new Jerusalem.
A sobering message
I will close with this note: Early this morning (March 7/09), David Wilkerson sent to his mailing list an urgent message. It is posted on his blog, and can be read at this link. An additional word was published on March 9, found here. (Due to copyright law, I cannot publish it on this web site.) I urge you to follow the links and read both with prayerful consideration. It a sobering message, yet a message of hope! There are others who are receiving similar dreams and visions, and have for several years.
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