A Word of Encouragement

Lately I have not been sleeping through the night. I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier. I stare at the ceiling for a while, and hope for sleep to overtake me again.

Instead, I decided to get up and give those early morning hours to the Lord in prayer. I read the Word, meditate on my own condition, and ponder on the state of world affairs, particularly in our own country.

I also started reading a book by Michael Medved entitled, “The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.” I am only on page 67, but the accounts describing the early struggles of our nation are amazing. Truly, the Father had a hand in raising up this nation.

When I look at what is going on, and what our elected officials are trying to do, it causes me great worry and sorrow. Crime, inflation, drugs, corruption at the highest levels of government, the media spewing lies and misinformation; it’s easy to forget what the ultimate goal is.

I say this to myself as well as sharing it with you – the Lord God is in charge. What He desires will be accomplished on the earth. What does He desire? Easy, it’s truth, righteousness, salvation, joy, prosperity, peace! Amen!

Here are a few passages from recent readings in Isiah.

Chapter 45, verse 18:

For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Chapter 48, verses 12 and 13:

Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.

Chapter 49, verses 8 through 11:

Thus says the LORD, In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;

Saying to those who are bound, “Go forth,” To those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves.” Along the roads they will feed, And their pasture will be on all bare heights.

They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them And will guide them to springs of water.

I will make all My mountains a road, And My highways will be raised up.

This last passage speaks directly of the Lord, Jesus himself. It gave strength and encouragement to me.

Chapter 50, verses 4 through 10

The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient nor did I turn back.

I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.

He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me.

Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them.

Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Finally, an exhortation to us directly from the Father is found in Chapter 51, verses 1 through 3.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn And to the quarry  from which you were dug. 

Look to Abraham your father And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was but one I called him, Then I blessed him and multiplied him.” 

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

Hallelujah and amen! We must emulate the Lord every day with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Yes, our nation seems as if it is bent on going to hell in a hand basket, but that’s not what is in store for us. It is the Lord that raises up rulers and nations, and brings them down again. The nations are like grasshoppers in the site of the Lord. Like drifting smoke, blown dust they are.

So, a word of encouragement: don’t lose heart. Don’t let your love “grow cold”. Even if we have to suffer for the sake of righteousness, the rough places will be made smooth. Mountains will be brought down and valleys raised up. There will be a highway where only the redeemed of the Lord will walk. He has planned it from long ago, He will execute it and bring it to pass. All who long for peace and love in this world will be vindicated. The Lord Jesus will make it happen for His own sake. He has sworn by His own name; it will happen.

Truly, that is Good News Only.

The Love of Many

In the 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus talks to his disciples about the end times. He gives them many examples of what will happen and what signs to watch out for as the end draws near.

One statement He made during His dissertation has always intrigued me and left me a bit uneasy. It’s verse 12.

“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”

If you are like me, you tend to spend a bit of time staying abreast of what is going on in our society. It’s not looking good out there. In many of our great American cities, Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Portland, Los Angeles, lawlessness is now in fashion.

In the streets there is open and public murder, looting, masturbation, defecation, prostitution, drug use, assault, robbery… you get the idea.

Elected leaders openly promote these behaviors by releasing dangerous convicted criminals from jail, reducing their due sentences, restraining and preventing police men and women from doing their jobs, and failing to prosecute or bring the perpetrators to justice. The net result is that lawlessness has indeed increased. Life is very dangerous for many innocent people.

Many law enforcement personnel have become disheartened; many have retired or otherwise given up. I sometimes feel my own soul leaning toward hopelessness. Will my lifestyle eventually consist of being afraid to go out to shop, or play, or vacation? Is this what the Lord means when He said the love of many shall grow cold? Possibly, but I recently became aware of another possibility.

A few nights ago I was watching a documentary about Los Angeles and its district attorney, I became very agitated. The actions and lack of action of that office has directly contributed to the horrible plight under which many Angelenos now find themselves living. I have loved ones living down there!

Suddenly I was filled with great anger, near rage and said something out loud that should never have left my mouth as a disciple of Jesus. Fortunately, only my wife was in the room to hear it. I later repented, and asked the Lord for forgiveness. 

Then it hit me, maybe that’s what He meant when He said the love of many shall grow cold. It’s not that people will become depressed and listless, uncaring and unmotivated. That certainly could happen in some cases; but on the other hand maybe people will become enraged. What would be the net difference? Nothing at all!

As a matter of fact, the latter would actually be a greater demonstration that one has let the current lawlessness cause his or her love of Christ to become cold. 

James 1:20 says 

for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Indeed! There is only one Lawgiver and Judge.

Matthew 7:1-3 says:

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?


The message is clear to me, as we watch and see what is going on around us, we must not let our love grow cold, neither through abject despair and sorrow, nor through outright rage and anger as I was doing. In either case the love of God is not put first. Anger may actually be fear in disguise.

In the 21st chapter of Revelations is says

But for the cowardly (fearful) and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Strange how the Word lumps of fearful right in there with the rest of the evil-doers. However, when you think about it fear is not faith, and we know that only faith can save us, not fear.

1 John4:18 says

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not been made perfect in love.

So I must remember the One who is in control. To escape judgement, I must not judge, but commit myself to a faithful God, whose will and desire will be done on earth as they are in heaven.

Let’s reassure our hearts. In Psalms 37:1-5

Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Which in my case is just peace on earth and good will toward men. 

Therefore, here is a message to myself, and maybe to you: pray for EVERYONE, don’t fret, don’t be angry, but be peaceful, trust in the Father in Heaven and His son, the Lord Jesus. All things will be made right eventually! Amen!

Now that is Good News Only.