The economies of the nations are shaking and crumbling, and fear is mounting worldwide. And now, as this shaking continues, were witnessing Jesus words come to pass:
...upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity...mens hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken (Luke 21:25-26). Christ is warning us, Without hope in me, multitudes of people are literally going to die of fright!
For Jesus followers, however those who trust in Gods promises to preserve his children there is glorious freedom from all fear. In fact, all who come under the lordship of Christ never need fear again, if theyll just lay hold of the following secret: True freedom from fear consists of totally resigning ones life into the hands of the Lord.
Resigning ourselves into Gods care is an act of faith. It means putting ourselves completely under his power, wisdom and mercy, to be led and preserved according to his will alone. And, if we do so, the God of the universe promises to be totally responsible for us to feed, clothe and shelter us, and to guard our hearts from all evil.
Jesus provided the ultimate example of this kind of holy resignation, when he went to the cross. Just before he gave up his spirit, he cried aloud, ...Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit... (Luke 23:46).
Christ literally placed the keeping of both his life and his eternal future in the custody of the father. And, in doing so, he placed the souls of every one of his sheep into the fathers hands.
You may wonder, But didnt Jesus say he had the power both to lay down his life and to take it up again? (see John 10:18). Since he had the power to take up his life again, why did he resign it into Gods hands to be preserved? The answer is obvious: Jesus did it to set an example for all of his sheep to follow!
God Has the Power, Wisdom,
Willingness and Love to
Preserve His Beloved People.
If were being asked to trust our lives to someone, then we have to know that this someone has the power to keep us from all danger, threats and violence. Otherwise, our trust is in vain. Simply put, our God has to have the wisdom and power to guide us as well as to guide countless multitudes of others through various crises and difficulties. And he must accomplish this guidance of his people in love.
Now, if you know the Lord at all, then you know this is his character. He is almighty, infinitely wise, and a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Indeed, he is the very essence of love. The apostle Paul writes, ...I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12).
Paul is saying, Ive put my life in the Lords hands. And Im persuaded he wont embezzle my trust. On the contrary, hes going to faithfully keep his word to preserve me because hes both able and willing to do so. That has been my experience with the Lord!
Today, as the storm clouds gather over our nation, our choice is clear: We can either resign our lives into the Lords hands, or we can be responsible for keeping and preserving ourselves, a task thats impossible when God is shaking everything!
The fact is, our peace and contentment always depend on our resignation into Gods hands, no matter what our circumstance. The psalmist writes, Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4).
If Youve Fully Resigned Yourself
Into Gods Hands, Then Youre Able
To Endure Any and All Hardships.
No matter what calamity befalls you, you know it cant be soul-damning, because you are clay in your fathers hands. He desires for you to be able to go about your daily business without fear or anxiety, totally trusting in his care. And your resignation to him has a very practical effect in your life. The more resigned you are to Gods care and keeping, the more indifferent youll be to the conditions around you.
If you are resigned to him, you wont constantly try to figure out the next step. You wont even be scared by the frightful news swirling around you. You wont be overwhelmed as you think about the days ahead because youve entrusted your life, family and future into your Lords safe and loving hands.
I ask you how worried or concerned do you think literal sheep are, as they follow their shepherd into open pastures? Theyre not worried at all, because theyre totally resigned to his leading of them. Likewise, we are the sheep of Christ, who is our great shepherd. So, why should we ever be concerned, disquieted or worried about our lives and futures? He knows perfectly how to protect and preserve his flock because he leads us in love!
How Is Our Resignation Into
Gods Hands Accomplished?
We see in the Bible that whenever someone approached this walk of self-resignation, he did so only with great seriousness of thought. Its easy for Christians today to say, The Lords will be done, in a general way. But its another matter entirely for us to resign ourselves into the Lords hands about a particular circumstance.
In my own life, Ive had to learn to trust God one problem at a time. Think about it: How can I say I trust God with everything, if I havent proven I can trust him with just one thing? Merely saying the words I trust the Lord completely isnt sufficient. I have to prove this over and over again in my life, in many areas and in everyday things.
Also, our resignation into the Lords hands cant be forced. It must be a free and willing surrender. There are several biblical examples of people who failed at this. Consider Egypts Pharaoh: Only when he couldnt hold out against Gods plagues any longer did he resign to let Israel take their wilderness journey.
Likewise, many people living today have said, I resign, I commit, I trust, only after they saw there was no other way out of their situation. But true resignation the kind that pleases God is done freely and willingly, prior to our coming to wits end. We are to act in covenant with the Lord, as Abraham did giving God his life as a blank check, and letting the Lord fill it all in.
God will accept no less than our all in this matter. If we resign our lives to him only half-heartedly, with any kind of reservation, were as guilty as Ananias and Sapphira were. They pretended to give their all to the Lord, but in reality they held back a part and they paid with their lives. In short, our resignation to God must be without conditions. There can be no deals or restrictions placed on our Lord; we have to give up all control into his hands.
Now, by resigning ourselves wholly into Gods hands, we surrender all of our own thoughts, ways and desires and we subscribe totally to his wisdom and truth. Such a resignation is by nature a daily, ongoing work. It cant be done just once. God sees through all of our temporary submissions in times of distress, and through all of our feigned obedience.
Although the psalmist says were to trust in God at all times, our proud flesh always desires to keep control over our lives. It constantly tries to convince us we can preserve ourselves by our own wits. And so, at the very moment we resign ourselves wholly to the Lord, our flesh rears its stubborn will and we quickly discover how determined our heart is to make its own way.
Casting Ourselves Upon The
Lord in Full Dependency is
One of The Hardest Things We
Christians Have to Do in Life.
Total resignation to God is an impossible task one that can be done only by faith. However, once we make this holy resignation to the Lord, no difficulty can prevail against us. Our faith in our shepherd will carry us, soul and body, through all hardships, discouragements and natural impossibilities.
We have to be aware, though, that once we make this commitment, we trip a loud alarm in hell. Once a resigned Christian yields all control to the Lord, placing every matter of his life into Gods hands, Satan will rise up to oppose him with ferocity.
Consider what happened with Paul: As long as he went on his pharisaical way, apart from the Lords will, he felt no opposition from the enemy. Yet, when he placed his life wholly in Gods custody, he was buffeted and attacked relentlessly.
Likewise, beloved, if you yield all to God, youll be fiercely opposed by every power of darkness. Satan will erect mountains of frightful conditions before you, to try to drive you to unbelief. Hell flood your mind and heart with doubts and fears that had never even crossed your mind before. His strategy is simply to turn your gaze onto how bad things are going to get, rather than onto Gods promises to keep you through any crisis.
Ive felt this struggle many times throughout my years in ministry. When hard times have come, doubts have risen up in my heart and whispered accusingly, Well, David, what are you going to do now? How will you be preserved through this crisis? Whats your plan for survival?
Satan will do anything to keep our focus away from Jesus! Yet we know from the scriptures that this kind of temptation is the experience of all who commit to follow Christ.
Fear Will Inevitably Come Upon
You When The Storm Hits.
The biblical prophets warn us that when we see God shaking the nations, and perilous times befall us, our natural man will fear greatly. Ezekiel asked, Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? (Ezekiel 22:14).
When God warned Noah of his coming judgments and told him to build an ark, Noah was moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7). Even bold, courageous David said, My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments (Psalm 119:120). And when the prophet Habakkuk saw disastrous days ahead, he cried out, When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble... (Habakkuk 3:16).
Please note as you read these passages: The fear that came upon these godly men wasnt a fleshly fear, but a reverential awe of the Lord. These saints werent afraid of the enemy of their souls but they did fear Gods righteous judgments. And thats because they understood the awesome power behind the approaching calamities. They didnt fear the outcome of the storm, but rather Gods holiness!
Likewise, each of us will experience overwhelming fear in the coming times of destruction and disaster. But our fear must come from a holy reverence for the Lord, and never from a fleshly anxiety about our fate. God despises all sinful fear in us, the fear of losing material things, wealth, our standard of living.
All over the world today, people are filled with this kind of fear, as they see their nations economies deteriorating. Theyre afraid an economic flood will sweep away everything theyve labored for throughout their lifetime. And theyre saying, All my sweat, all my efforts to build an estate and prepare for the future, are about to come to ruin. Im going to live in poverty!
Such is the cry of unbelievers who have no hope. It ought not to be the cry of the godly. Indeed, if youre a child of God, your heavenly father will not endure such unbelief in you. Isaiah warned:
...who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker...and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor... (Isaiah 51:12-13). Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread [awe] (8:13).
Let God be your fear and awe. That kind of fear leads not to death, but to life!
Right Now, America is Filled With
People Who Think No Distressing
Calamity Will Ever Befall Them.
Throughout history, people have believed they could handle any calamity well enough without faith in God. The prophet Isaiah writes that such scoffers boast, ...when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us... (Isaiah 28:15).
Isaiah says these people are spiritually blind: Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see... (26:11). In other words, they wont attribute any calamity to Gods work. Instead, theyll act as if there were no God in heaven at all to bring them to account for their unbelief.
Many scoffers in America today think their wealth will save them from any disaster. But Gods word says in no uncertain terms that when his divine shaking begins, the ungodly rich will suddenly see their possessions as worthless:
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth (2:20-21).
Other scoffers may say, Why all the worry and concern? Things continue as they have since the very beginning of humanity. Calamities have come and gone, but weve always survived. Economies may collapse, empires may fall, but human life goes on.
We cant listen to these prophets of doom theyve been saying the same things for centuries. The world hasnt ended, as theyve said it would many times. The bad times have always given way to the good. We just need to enjoy life while we can.
Its true that Gods prophets have sounded warnings in every generation. But history proves that God has always sent his judgments in due time. John Owen, the great Puritan preacher, spoke the following message to his congregation on April 9, 1680:
You know that for many years, without failing, I have been warning you continually of an approaching calamitous time, and considering the sins that have been the causes of it...I have told you that judgment will begin in the house of God; that God seems to have hardened our hearts from his fear...and that none knows what the power of his wrath will be. In all these things I have foretold you of perilous, distressing, calamitous times...these all now lie at the door, and are entering in upon us.
Scoffers today may read Owens words and say, This proves my point! Heres a doomsday preacher from three hundred years ago who tried to put a scare in his society. But the world has continued, in spite of everything he said. Things have gone on as usual!
What such scoffers dont acknowledge is that God did send his awful judgments on that society. John Owen lived to weep over a flaming holocaust that engulfed London and destroyed that great city. In fact, he saw the fulfillment of every one of his powerful prophecies wars, destruction, shattered economies, nationwide depression, diseases that wiped out multitudes of careless, unconcerned people.
Yet before he ever saw a single one of these calamities take place, Owen faithfully cried out from his pulpit: I am going to show you how we ought to deport ourselves in and under the distressing calamities that are coming upon us, and may reach, it may be, up to the very neck.
Beloved, were living in just such a time as Owens. And in times like these, there is only one response to the coming financial holocaust: The just shall live by faith! Owen admonished his people with tears: Get you an ark, prepare an ark for the safety of you and your families. Then he added:
That ark is Jesus Christ. There is no other way, no other ark for Isaiah, the prophet, said of our Lord, And a man [Christ] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadows of a great rock in a weary land.
That is our ark blessed are they that trust only in him...I know of no safety, no deliverance, in the trials and afflictions coming upon the earth, but in believing Christ as our only refuge.
Lord, Give Us Spiritual Eyes to
See Your Protective Wall of Fire
Round About Spiritual Zion, Keeping
and Preserving All Who Resign
Themselves Into Your Hands!
We may see dangers on all sides, including a devil and his principalities who want to drown our faith in doubts. But we have a fiery guard of angels surrounding us and a God who is under oath to carry us through any disaster we may face.
So, let me ask you do you want to face the coming storm with quiet confidence and peace of mind? Then die today to all your own ways and means of saving yourself and commit the keeping of your life wholly to Gods care. Hes your good, loving shepherd and he is faithful to see you through all!
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This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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