What can we expect in 2017?

There were some significant changes in 2016.  Fidel is no more, Trump trumped Hillary and famous film stars and rock stars left the stage of life.  2017 has arrived, and what can we, as followers of Jesus, expect?

#  No one knows when the end will come.

I had an aunt who wanted to get married in the 1940’s when Hitler was the Fuehrer of Germany.  Her mother objected.  She claimed that the anti-christ was already revealed, so the second coming of Christ was very near.  It was useless to get married and have a family.  Well, she did get married and her great-grandchildren are alive and well in 2017.

#  Some children of God will grow in faith. 

There will be followers of Jesus who will wax ever stronger in the Lord.  The words of Revelation 22:11b are still apt, ‘…let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’  These words are so true, since the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus is eternal, ‘His  dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.’ 1

#  The enemy of God will work very hard.

The adversary of God, Satan, the liar, thief and murderer is still alive and hard at work.  That means the faithful followers of Jesus will be subjected to his wiles and attacks.  Revelation 12:17 says, ‘Then the devil was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.’

#  Children of God will need the armour of God.

The lies and continual warfare against God’s people will continue and increase.  Paul’s advice to the church at Philippi through the Holy Spirit, also applies to us, ‘…conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then…I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved and that by God.’ 2

Conclusion

A good word for 2017 is, ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust.  I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?’ 3

References

  1. Daniel 7:14b
  2. Philippians 1:28
  3. Psalm 56:3-4

God and Ethnic Cleansing

When we read about ethnic cleansing, we come into contact with the baser Ethnicside of human nature. It is almost unbelievable what humans can do to their fellows. Saddam Hussein and the Kurds, as well as, the Hutus and the Tutsis are examples of how one ethnic group can hate and attack another.

It is therefore surprising that God is also into ethnic cleansing. God and His people will live on the eternal new heaven and earth. It will be a Kingdom of peace and happiness. How is God going to accomplish that? In the present world everybody wants peace, but it is a scarce commodity. Not a day passes that there is not a rebellion or a some effort to get rid of undesirables, or whatever.

God cannot allow different nationalities in His Kingdom. Yet we know that He calls people from all the nations on earth. So there is a real possibility of ethnic strife.  He cannot hope that the different ethnic groups will live in peace, or trust that some slight provocation will not break out in violence and hatred as history proves. How will God neutralise the Chinese and Red Indian, Mexican and Arab, African and Indian national loyalties?

God had a brilliant plan to unite all the different nationalities, obliterate their old identities and give them a new identity. John 3:3-8 tells us about the new birth. When people come into God’s Kingdom they are born anew as children of God. The Bible tells us, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ 1  Such people know that, ‘…they were [are] aliens and strangers on earth….looking for a country of their own.’ 2 They are reborn with new ID’s and passports and they all have the same ‘nationality.’

To renounce one’s citizenship and become a citizen of a new country is not easy (people who emigrated can testify to that). So in God’s brilliance He gives each of His new citizens a personal Guide, the Holy Spirit. He teaches them about their new country, nationality, fellow citizens, and King. He sees to it that they understand it well. 3

What is the result? We rave about our King, love Him, adore Him, and obey Him. We are proud of our new nationality, because we understand that it is all the grace of God. We did not earn it, but we are ever so grateful and happy to become citizens of the very best country and King that ever existed.

God has solved the ethnic problem. There will never be racial superiority in His Kingdom, or a need to suppress minorities. We can thank God for His brilliance, ‘I [God] will live among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ 4

References

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  2. Hebrews 11:13-14
  3. John 16:13-14
  4. 2 Corinthians 6:18

Satan’s war against God

It is important to realise that the devil rules the world. He got that right when he deceived Adam. Resist‘We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’ That explains why there is an almost universal conspiracy against God and His book, the Bible. If you look, you will see it: God is not allowed. He must be expelled.

There are two things Bible believers should remember:

  • Believers are under the government of God. ‘We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.’ 2 We are safe under God, but we do live in the devil’s country, and we are subject to xenophobic attacks. That is why we are warned by Paul, ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.’3 Understand that heaven is coming, but it is not here yet. Don’t be discouraged by adversity. Be encouraged that you are hated by the devil. It is far better to be loved by God.
  • The devil aims to rob people of eternal life on the new heaven and earth. His standard strategy is to sow doubt, because he asks one question, ‘Did God really say…?’ 4 He influences people, and they do his job for him. So he has a ready army willing to spread his message around the world, ‘doubt the Bible, because it is nonsense.’ The devil is ever ready to pounce on people to use them as his apostles for hell. That is why it is wise to obey Scripture so that we can be safe under God’s protection, ‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ 5

Who are the people taken captive to do the devil’s work? They are found all over society as atheists, skeptics, humanists, evolutionists and liberal theologians who deny that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The ‘theologians’ are especially dangerous, because they come in a disguise, ‘For such men are deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.’ Bold ours

The devil will miss eternal life with God on the renewed planet. He missed it by a mile and that loss drives and energises him to tirelessly oppose God and influence people to follow his lead. Unfortunately following him leads to the eternal lake of burning sulphur. His willing servants want us to follow suit. Don’t give in, because it will cost you dearly, as the devil so ably demonstrates.

God’s brilliant plan is an eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness.

  • Where is the outline of this plan? In the Bible.
  • Where are the guidelines to become part of it? In the Bible.

So what is the easiest way to ensure that people will miss God’s plan? Insist that the Bible is just an ordinary book written by men, with no special value, or that it has so many errors you cannot believe it.

The solution: Know and keep to the Truth, which is Jesus, the Word. Resist the devil and his coworkers with the name of Jesus. Always remember that the fight against God and His people is because the Bible is true. A real enemy hates the real God, who promises us eternal life.  Glory be to God!

References

  1. 1 John 5:19
  2. 1 John 5:18
  3. Acts 14:22b
  4. Genesis 3:1
  5. 1 Peter 5:8
  6. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

 

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