“Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me; For I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! Be merciful to me, O Lord, For I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
Psalms 86:1-5 NKJV
““And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:8-10 NKJV
One of my favorite moments in an American football game is goal line stand. Often the game hangs in the balance, with the offensive team trying to get the game winning touchdown, and the defense trying to stop it. In that few seconds of play, all manner of brutality occurs between the lines as huge linemen poke, grab and even bite, to get the advantage, trying to get the footing that allowing the running back to break through. In that moment players can be at their worst.
In a spiritul sense, we are in the waning days of the Gospel game, and we are at the goal line. Unlike a football, we already know that we will win, as Jesus gave us the victory when He went to the cross. It is now about the battle for souls, for the spreading of the Gospel, for people to be saved and spared hell.
The evil one wants all to perish, and will not yield a single soul without a fight. He has player/pawns in the game, lost souls of flesh and blood, sent into the fray to stop the called from advancing.
All manner of brutality is being used to stop the Gospel from entering hearts. Culture wars, political shenanigans and conspiracies are used by the devil to misdirect believers from focusing on the goal of evangelizing the whole world. Those of us who are called, are under attack and it all seems so very daunting.
When I read through Psalm 86, I reflected on some of the feelings I have as I go forth and share the Good News and as I intercede on behalf of others. Verse after verse illustrated my struggle and those of my brothers and sisters. We feel forsaken as we witness the devolution of this world, and its attack on the very people who are sent to bring saving message of the Gospel.
I think of Paul the Apostle in the final days of his ministry, continually teaching and preaching, and feeling abandoned. But he knew that Jesus was with him and that he would soon see the Lord face to face.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
II Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV
He was nearing end of his race. I am sure that Paul’s prayer life was deep and intimate, as he met constantly with the Lord Jesus in prayer, as he was built up and sustained. Those of us who have called upon Jesus can also know of that same intimacy and lovingkindness, as we lean on the One who went to the cross for our sins.
Brothers and sisters, we are on the goal line. Rest assured that the players on the other side are going to come at us with great brutality. Even in the midst of the struggle, we must remind ourselves that those who are in opposition, are the very people we are to take the Gospel to in our great work. As we advance, let us use care not to destroy those on the other side of the line.
We have the greatest role model in the Lord Jesus, who took the torture, the lashes, and went to the cross willingly and laid down His life for us. We must also remember that we too were in opposition at one time. We are on the goal line expecting victory. Let’s live as if we believe we will win, and endeavor to take as many with us as possible.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Romans 12:14-19 NKJV
The goal is just across the line.
““And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.””
Revelation 22:12-13 NKJV
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