1. God is still on His throne.
Daniel saw the fall of his country. He was taken captive and led away to a totally foreign land where he was forced to serve a king who did not know God. He lived in a godless time and place, among godless circumstances. That’s how it looked. But Daniel knew the reality. He know that God was still on His throne and that He had not left the scene, regardless of what human eyes could see. Daniel confidently told King Nebuchadnezzar, his immediate supervisor and the King of the then-known world: “…the Most High God rules over the kingdom of mankind and He bestows it on whomever He desires.” (Daniel 4)
2. God is at work, even in the most difficult circumstances you face.
Daniel’s buddies faced the ultimate test. Deny God and live; worship Him alone and die. Old King Neb didn’t heed Daniel’s words and decided to make a 90 foot by 9 foot statue of himself for everyone to worship. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down, he threatened to throw them in the furnace. And when they still refused, he made good on this threat. Before they knew the end of the story, they declared to the King that they KNEW that God could save them. But they ended that statement with, “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up!” And sure enough, God did save them. They walked out of the fire with only one thing burnt off of them – the ropes that had bound them. Everything else about them – hair, clothing, skin – was not only unburnt, it didn’t even smell like smoke! Not matter what fire you are facing today, no matter how much the godless rage, no matter what threat is fashioned against you, God is still on your side. Still with you. Still in control. And still at work. Will He rescue you here on earth? Perhaps. But even if He does not, He is still God. And He has promised eternity with Him. Which leads me to this one…
3. “’In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.” Teresa of Avila
This life is a small blip on the radar screen of eternity. It can be a painful, exhausting, excruciating blip – but for a Christ-follower, it is the worst that can ever happen to you. After this brief title page we call this life, the believer will find himself in an eternity so wonderful that the Bible declares, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9) For a person who has accepted Christ’s sacrificial death on their behalf, this life is the closest thing to hell that they will ever experience. But for a person who rejects Christ in this life, this is the best it will ever be. This life, this world, is the only heaven they will ever know. So, please remember:
4. Every person you meet is an eternal being with an eternal destiny. And you have the chance to influence their decision towards on destination or the other.
Every. Single. Person. Created in the image of God. Designed by the Creator for good works. Called to come into fellowship with Him. Dearly loved by God. Offered salvation. But do they know it? Have they heard? Do they see Him in you? Have you told them that, while you do not have all the answers, you know the One who does? Have you loved them until they ask you why? Have you been a witness, simply sharing what you have seen God do in your own life?
Or have you let the enemy stop you?
Using fear. Intimidation. A whisper of “You’re not qualified” or “They might hate you.”
The statistics here where I live in Charles County are grim. Of the 150,000 people in this county, surveys say that only 15% (or less) actually have a life-saving relationship with Jesus. Others may claim to be “Christian” or “people of faith” or “religious”. But actually trusting Christ? The statistics say that in Charles County alone, 22,500 people know Him. But 127,500 don’t. Can you personally reach over 100,000 people? No. But…
5. Our God specializes in multiplication.
In using the weak.
In taking a little, offered in faith, and making it a lot.
In using broken people, flawed people, sinful people to change the world.
One relationship at a time.
One act of faith at a time.
One act of obedience at a time.
I have to be brutally honest here. I have been in paid, full-time ministry for 15 years. And in that time, I have watched many, many churches ebb and flow in attendance. In popularity. In “success”. But what I see most of the time, is growth by transfer. Bobby Rae and Suzie May know Jesus – but they like the worship style here or the preaching there, the décor here or the kid’s ministry there. So they bounce from place to place. And sometimes, transfer is good. Necessary, even.
But what if – WHAT IF – we actually grew by TRANSFORMATION???
What if every one of the 22,500 Christ-followers in Charles County shared Jesus with just one person? Consistently loving on them. Praying for them. Inviting them to church. Being real. If each person reached ONE person, we would then have 45,000 Christ-followers here. And if each of them reached ONE person, we would be at 67, 500. And so on, and so on – until very quickly, we would turn Charles County upside down for Christ! And, by the way – every church in Charles County would quickly be busting at the seams with people who love the Lord.
Because God specializes in using the weak.
He takes your stumbling words and flawed efforts and transforms them into something beautiful.
Even if you are living in Babylon.
In a godless place.
In a godless culture.
1. He is still in His throne.
2. He is still at work.
3. Heaven is still your destination.
4. The people around you still need to know Him.
5. And He has entrusted YOU with the message of hope – and the power to share it.