Friday, April 17, 2015

                                          By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
    “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have PEACE. In the world ye shall have TRIBULATION: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33)
    Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 6). He said: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14: 27)
    Our Lord stated: “Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in Heaven: for in like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6:22,23)
     St. Paul wrote about the horrific persecution he endured for the Gospel's sake: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.” (2 Cor.1: 8-10)
    “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” (2 Cor.4: 8-11)
     As life squeezes us, and it certainly does squeeze us all at times, it is imperative that we who are believers in Jesus Christ, put our trust in the Blessed Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us as the Divine Helper! Jesus called the Holy Spirit the 'Paraklitos’ (Divine Helper; the One sent along to help).
    “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not neither knoweth Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14: 16-18)
     It is incumbent upon born-again, Spirit-filled Believers, that we face any and all problems, crises or tragedies with faith rather than doubt, with hope rather than despair, and with courage rather than fear!
     We must be role models to those who have no hope and have no faith, by modelling for them, through our vibrant and buoyant lifestyle, to bring them out of the wilderness of unbelief, worry and hopelessness!
    August Strindberg, celebrated Swedish author, made this powerful statement before his death: “Clearly said, I ascribe all my misfortune to this one fact, that I have been godless! An individual that has broken contact with God, cannot receive any blessings. All this talk about ‘being your own man and making your own happiness’ is chaff.”
                         LIFE IS OFTEN A RAT-RACE!
   As economic opportunities have opened to an expanding segment of the world’s population and with greater technological breakthroughs producing more and better consumer products, a lot of people have been sucked into the credit card debt trap, with its devastating affects on millions of families!
     Undisciplined spending and uncontrolled GREED among many entrepreneurs have brought devastation to millions of families who got caught in the reckless gambling spirit of investing in stocks and bonds, as large corporations like Worldcom, Environ, Implone and others was the answer to their utopian dreams of riches and wealth!
     Others are squeezed into a financial corner because of sickness, lay-offs, down turns in the economy and poor business transactions! The break-up of the family through separation, divorce or the death of a spouse has left countless adults and children in an economic quagmire! 
    And with that albatross hanging around their necks, countless millions are wallowing in the murky waters of despondency, bitterness and resentment!
     And as the Canadian Government, as well as other governments, have given in to the demon spirits of GREED, they have opened the hellish flood gates of gambling upon millions of unsuspecting, lazy and ignorant people who spend quality time at Video Arcades feeding the VLTs, crowd into Bingo Halls teeming with welfare Moms (their children often unattended), and Casinos – Big Time Enemy of the Family – play hosts to deceived patrons who pay homage to the 'god of Stupidity and Chance’!
   And what of the many drug-addicted, greed-driven, Satan-inspired, foul-mouthed and suicide-prone so-called 'Rock & Roll and Rap stars' who fill the stadiums and airwaves with pornographic, perverted, rebellious, anti-God music, and singing that often sounds like a pack of yelping dogs, similar to that heard on the streets of any Third World country after Midnight?
    No wonder so many of our young people get hooked on drugs, alcohol, gambling and perverted sex, after listening to such 'first-class' filth and immoral garbage! Into that awful mix, throw in a plethora of pornographic movies, nightclubs, bars, drug pushers, pimps and prostitutes, and the parasitic scum-bags who charge mafia-like-interest money lenders who live off the hand-to-mouth labourer and the foolish welfare recipient!
     My dear and precious friend, it is high time to get off that ruinous, never-ending roller coaster! Please listen to me! My heart bleeds for you and your family I want to help you!
                            CHRIST IS THE ANSWER 
                          TO THE DILEMMAS OF LIFE!
    We can show them the way out of their dilemma! Christ is the answer to the 'pressures of life' that try to squeeze the life out of us all! St. Paul was beset with many and varied problems and crises that sought to impede his advance with the Gospel as well as harm his own life! He did not grumble, complain or blame anyone, but rather through prayer, faith and fasting, overcame the enemy and obstacle which were arrayed against him!
     Here is what he wrote: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” (2 Cor.4: 8-10)
    St. Paul was not 'a quitter'. He didn’t throw in the sponge. He didn't give up! Here are some of his last words: “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith:
   “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2 Tim.4: 6-8)
    Life can get tough, but it is still worthwhile! Life can even be brutal, but we can make it a great adventure with large goals and rewards! Life can even squeeze us to the place where it seems impossible to go on, but that is not true. Life can and must go on and like the hymn writer stated: 'With Jesus in the vessel, we can smile at the storm."                                
                            SMILE AT THE STORM!
    And don’t forget that most situations can change very suddenly and very dramatically for many people, and this fact has been recorded down through history!
    The Bible character Job proved that to be true. In his worst moment, having lost everything except his own life, he cried out: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.” (Job 13: 15)
     After Satan had finished with him, he had lost his children, his home, his wealth, his health and all of his friends except three miserable comforters who spent between six months to one year in criticizing his spirituality! Even his wife counselled him to "curse God and die.” (Job 2: 9)
                         WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME?
     “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.” (Job 42: 10, 12)
  Is your family squeezing you because of trouble between relatives? Are you having problems with your neighbours because of your wayward and troublesome children or theirs? Are your children or those of your relatives or friends addicted to alcohol, drugs or pornography? Are you wearing out the carpet in your home, walking back and forth in anxious night sweats and agony because of family break-ups and strife?
    Are you being persecuted because of your stand for Jesus Christ? Do they call you narrow minded? Do they cut you out of their fellowship because you believe the Full Gospel and believe in the miracles of Christ for this generation? Don’t let that bother you. Do not became anxious or filled with stress because of tribulation, peril or persecution because of your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour!
   Jesus said: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15: 18,19)
     Our Lord instructed His disciples: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” (Luke 6: 22-25)
    The Bible says: “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost (in tongues - in the Spirit).
     Jesus said: “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt.7: 13,14)
  And they are right! Born-again, Spirit-filled Christians are narrow-minded, because we believe that we were created by a wise, intelligent and kind Heavenly Father, instead of by happenstance and an ignorant and unproven, unscientific and ludicrous 'monkey theory' called evolution!
     We believe that God has given us the ability and common sense to think for ourselves, rather to follow the crowd who have been brain-washed by the herd mentality of nazism, fascism, communism, secular humanism, islamism or intellectual elitism dressed up as political correctness!
     We believe that Almighty God created our first parents in His own image and likeness. Since He is triune: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are spirit, mind and body with an ability to choose between good and evil, right and wrong, because we were created as free moral agents!
      We believe that through the tragic fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the entire world was plunged into a cesspool of rebellion, sin and destruction ending in physical death and eternal damnation!
     That, however, is not the end of the story. There is much, much more! The Gracious God of Creation is also the God of Love, Mercy, Righteousness and Order!
     The Bible records: “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16,17)
    When Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross for the sins of the world nearly 2000 years ago, He met the demands of Divine Justice and purchased our eternal salvation, defeating Satan, death, hell and the grave!
   The Holy Scripture declares: “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through DEATH He might DESTROY him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: And DELIVER them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb.2: 14,15)
     We believe that there is ONLY ONE WAY to Heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Who was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He arose again on the third day, ascended into Heaven, poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost upon His Church on the Day of Pentecost in circa A.D 33, in Jerusalem!
     We believe that there is ONLY ONE BOOK, the Holy Bible that has been given from God to man. The Holy Record states: “We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
    “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1: 19,20)
     “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the HOLY SCRIPTURES which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
   “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (1 Tim.3: 14-16)
    We believe that there is 'Only One Saving Name', and that name is JESUS the Christ of God! The Holy Bible is the written Word of God and Jesus Christ is the living Word of God! The Bible emphasizes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
     “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him (Jesus): and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
    “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
    Exciting Times are here again! When people truly begin thinking about their souls' salvation and that of their family and neighbours, the Church gets a new impetus. Now is time to open your Bible and get alone with God. He will meet your needs, my friend!
    St. Paul and Silas answered the enquiring Jailor's question: "What must I do to BE SAVED?" with this answer: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved and thy house." (Acts 16: 30, 31) Amen.