Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Times Of Testing

We are better off in the midst of tribulation if we have Jesus, than we are in peaceful times without Him.

Just as Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel said,: “horrible things are taking place in our nation” (Jeremiah 5:30): “False prophets, abortion, pride, sin of every description and the attitude that we no longer need God., prove we are no longer simply rendering unto Ceasar, we are giving unto Ceasar that which is God’s”(Jeremiah 5:31). Concerning abortion, Jeremiah 9:1 says: Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughters of my people!

Jeremiah 5:1 says: “You can run through the streets of your city to look for a man that seeks the truth and judges that city, and if there be any, I will pardon it”. Speaking of the worship of ‘other gods’ Jeremiah 5:7 speaking for God, says: “How can I forgive you for this? Your children have forsaken me, and swear by false gods. I have given you great abundance, yet you have committed adultery with those gods and gathered yourselves in the houses of the harlots.” Jeremiah 5:9 says: “Shall I not visit for these things, says the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” In Jeremiah 13:17, he spoke of himself when he said: “But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord's flock will be brought down.” In speaking from the Lord, Jeremiah 3:22 says: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Hopefully the answer is: Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.

I, by the grace of God, have been called to speak for Him in the tradition of the prophets, but can only do so with the amount of talent I have been given. Through the years, I have come to realize that my writings are the means to accomplish this task. In some quarters, I have been praised for these undertakings, and in other quarters I have been vilified. The Lord has said to me, through Jeremiah 1:17-19: “Fully prepare yourself! Stand up and say to them whatever I tell you. Do not be in fear of them, for I will stand with you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the leaders of the land, its politicians, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.”

I have come to realize, the things that happen in my life all had a purpose. I needed to be turned them over to the Lord, to seek His direction. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have seen the good and bad in this life, hard times and prosperous times, and I have endeavored to turn them all over to the Lord. Such lessons have allowed me to learn to trust in my Lord, through everything. It’s not that my life is constantly blessed, or that I don’t still experience trials, but that I have learned the Lord is never absent from me. He guides me through everything, as I yield myself to His will. He broadens my understanding of those things that are good and bad, right or wrong, based on my yielding to His guidance. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105).

What we need to understand, is that you are not paranoid if there really is someone after you. There really is someone after you if, you are a Christian or Jew scattered throughout the world, or concentrated in the United States and Israel. There is an evil force that wishes to thwart every thing that is the will of God. We know his name: it is Satan (Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Evil One, and other derivations of the same person). Most of us fail to understand that he is behind the persecution of God’s people, and by inference those nations established by God, such as the United States and Israel.

I had an ethics professor in college, whose name I can’t recall. He had been an Episcopal priest. Giving it all up in desperation, he lived as a bum, under the Hanover Street Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. When I knew him, he had been called back into the ministry and to teach. His experiences had given him special insight for teaching both the Word of God and the ethics class I had taken. Sometimes we all feel that our lives are of no purpose. I went through such a time in the mid-eighties when, because of spiritual exhaustion, I tried to hide from the Lord’s leading. I knew I had a call on my life, but was not seeking His will. As I look back now, there were things I and my family went through because I was not in synch with Him. My spiritual life was rather dormant for about fifteen years. I was not completely without the Lord’s presence in my life; however, I was not fulfilling His desire for me. I have no illusion of gaining greatness in this world, nor is that my hearts desire, but I do know that I am building my reward in Heaven. I know my life, what’s left of it, will not be without tribulation; however, I am steadfast in the knowledge that what I will do, will be guided by the Lord because that is my prayer. I am anchored in the knowledge that He has heard me, and will be with me. I will do my best not to fail Him. As Jeremiah 17:7 says: “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.” It says in 1 Corinthians 15: 58; “be steadfast, unmovable, occupied in the work of the Lord at all times, knowing that your work is not in vain.”

We all have a pain threshold: Some greater than others. When I was in the emergency room a couple of years ago, the triage nurse asked me to rate the pain I was experiencing from the kidney stone I had. He wanted me to use a scale of 1 thru 10. I surprised him when I said it was a 6. I explained that I knew what 10 pain was, due to a past sub taller dislocation of my left foot (the foot was at a 70 degree angle to the side of my leg, separated below the talus bone in the ankle). The nurse wrote down that it was a 10. A physician’s assistant recently told me that older people have a substantially higher pain threshold for pain than those 30 and younger. She attributed this to the ease of their lives and lack of experience of much pain as a result of the sheltered circumstances of their lives. In the same way we elders have built up a resistance to pain, we can build up a resistance to the wiles of the devil and the cares of this world. This is accomplished through a closer walk with God, and our emersion into His Word. “Do not be conformed to this world: be rather transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you will know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

At this point in my life, my greatest desire is to be with the Lord. I have resigned myself to stay here as long as it is His will. I know that He realizes I count this commitment as a tribulation. The Apostle Paul also thought it better to go to be with the Lord than to stay here on earth (Philippians 1: 23-26).

In part, my inspiration for this work came from David Jeremiah’s book, “The Unchangeable Word of God”.

Rick Rahn


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