today's sermon. Today's sermon was almost used to create an anxious mindset within myself.
As I listened to the message, I heard an urgency in the speaker's voice. The enemy wants to sneak in, and lure people away with false hope. Once the enemy has replaced the true hope with his falsehood, then he'll pounce and hold the unsuspecting people in bondage. Of course it'll happen that way. The history of humanity has shown us that's pretty much how it's done. Any scam that is executed to an unsuspecting victim starts out with promises of good things for the victim. Then, once the victim has been enticed, the hook is set. History shows us how Hitler came in, promising good things, and sounding pretty good at first. Only after an entire country was under his tyranny, did his iron fist come into view.
Love does not rejoice in this evil. It never delights in wrong doing. At first, listening to all the above examples threatened to send me into a mindset of despair, but then other verses starting flooding my memory as the preacher talked on. One such verse is Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ I don't have to worry. I am not the Holy Ghost Jr to this world. Before Philippians came to mind, anxiety tried to creep in as I recalled the last few discussions I had with folks who still wanted to ask forgiveness, live by the ten commandments, bring the tithing law over... etc etc. It ended in disaster. Not only did the person in question interrupt the conversation every few words, but the location we were talking would become very noisy and distracting. It really took more energy than I cared to exert. Soooo, I decided a long time ago I would not share any part of the gospel audibly. I would write, blog, sign language, but not speak it. Of course, living in a predominately hearing/speaking world, that's pretty much what comes to mind when one thinks of "sharing the good news". I'm no exception. That's when the verse in Philippians came to mind. It's not my good work, it's God's good work.
Meanwhile another verse was shared that gave me peace. The parable of the Shepherd going to find that lost sheep. Something struck me odd today, that I never noticed before. The parable starts off with Jesus asking what would happen if the Shepherd had 100 sheep, and one strayed. He'd put the 99 safe in the barn, and go look for that lost sheep. Notice that the sheep still belongs to the Shepherd, it's simply not with the flock. My identity isn't going to change. I'm a child of the King, and I'll always be a child of the King. There is no fear in not being brought back to the flock. God, not me, will see to it.
Love rejoices in good. When Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, all of her neighbors rejoiced with her. Apparently they knew what a hard time Elizabeth had in conceiving a child. But, when she finally did, they rejoiced with her. That's simply what love does. Elizabeth passed on that encouragement and love to her cousin Mary, who was pregnant with the Messiah of the world. Could you imagine being a young girl, and trying to convince people you'd not been with a man, but was pregnant by the holy ghost? Yeahrite, Mary. You keep on believing that. How alone she must have felt! Joseph, at first, even wanted to put her away. Elizabeth, her cousin, didn't snub her, she loved her, and even John the Baptist, in the womb of his mother, knew that he was in the presence of greatness.
It's encouraging, that, in these last days, amid the scams, corrupt government, slave tradings (sadly, human trafficking is alive and well), God, who is Love, isn't just sitting idly by, wringing His hands, wondering what to do. No, God, who began a good work in his children, is seeing it through to completion.
As stated in II Timothy, "God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: The Lord knows who are His," and "Every one who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness"Because, you see, God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life