For after all it
is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give
relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be
revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire ...
2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7
When the Christ-followers began in Acts 2, this movement began with a “bang”! Peter spoke to a huge, religious, Jerusalem crowd confirming that God raised Jesus from the dead and made him Lord. Some 3000 responded, and the unconquerable movement began. These early converts in Jerusalem were certain that nothing could stop them!
Opposition cooperated. The movement diversified. Being godly involved more than believing God raised Jesus. Local congregations had problems. Jobs were lost. Christ-followers were arrested and killed. Christianity was unpopular!
A movement that began with a “bang” in Acts 2 staggered badly in Asia Minor in Revelation. A movement that seemed destined for greatness in Acts 2 struggled for survival in the times of Revelation. John wrote, “God in Christ won the victory! All you need to do is endure!”
In this country’s southern region, we often enjoyed convenience. Prosperity allowed us to build and maintain buildings, to produce and sustain programs, to have incredible outreaches, to acquire staffs, and to dream dreams that early members never imagined. Though there were struggles, often it was “convenient to struggle.”
Times ahead may not be convenient. This may be one of those strange periods when opportunity is abundant, but funding is restrictive. Convenience can be like an unneeded narcotic. If taken from us, we struggle—did convenience control our actions, or did faith control our actions? Did we function as we do because of convenience or because Jesus is Lord? Is existence about lifestyle, or is existence about eternity?
In these difficult times, may we encourage each other. May we support faith in each other. May we be a people of faith regardless of circumstances. May we attack hardship and uncertainty with faith. May we never worship the god of convenience! May Jesus Christ alone be our Lord—in all challenges and all circumstances! “Now” is not eternity!
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