Trying: The Good and The Bad

I’m fascinated with words like “trying” that have conflicting definitions – their use keeps us from understanding what we want to say to each other.

You are headed for trouble! You say wrong is right, darkness is light, and bitter is sweet.
Isaiah 5:20 CEV

Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.
Genesis 11:7 NIV

I’m amazed that everything we see happening in the world today has already been prophesied and predicted – yet so few seem to be aware of this.

business-as-usualBut understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV
(And it is hardly possible anymore to “avoid such people”.)

I’m deeply saddened that the solution to – or, at least, the explanation for – these problems has been documented all along in plain sight, but so many have sought – successfully – to have it be ignored, ridiculed, and denied.

For the message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.
1 Corinthians 1:18 ISV

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
2 Timothy 3:16 NLT


terrifiedI’m terrified at the promise of what is yet to come – upon all of us. It is not an idle threat.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Matthew 24:4-12 NIV

But I’m incredulous, yet slightly perversely joyous, that all this is proof that God’s Word is Truth. These facts are signs of the end times. Will I live to see it? I really do wonder. And I keep trying look past the coming trials to the reward on the other side.

Then there is hope that I myself will somehow be raised from death.
Philippians 3:11 ERV

But I meant to speak of “trying”. We have to be trying to hold onto hope in these trying times. We have to be trying to be examples of His message in both our words and actions.

Adjective: difficult, annoying, or hard to endure

Verb: make an attempt or effort to do something

“Easier said than done” is especially apt to describe people’s actions these days. We all speak our minds and are quick to advise the world in general from our wisdom. Social media has paved the way for us, as is so obvious from this US election. The hateful and contemptuous language I have read! (And posted, too, I confess.) We have become so reactive, instead of focusing on being proactive.

What can we do? I think the first thing is instead to ask “What can I do?” Christianity is: Fixing the Whole – fixing, improving, growing, maturing myself. Actively. Doing what I proclaim in my own life. Walking my own talk. And being honest with myself about how far away I fall from doing that.

What continues to be of prime importance to me is that I read The Bible for myself. It is the foremost way God speaks to me. I can only urge you to do the same. Give it a try. I am sure you will be amazed at what you hear, and what you learn about yourself.

This morning, I am also recalling and considering the book The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This is Evil talking:

screwtape.jpg“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

Evil seeks to keep the Truth of God far from our awareness.

“Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

Faith and trust in God and His purpose helps us to get through our difficult seasons. We all will have storms in this life.

“I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered for us by the High Command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course this has not always been so.”

Evil wants us to think he (The Evil One) doesn’t exist, despite how easily and simply it explains everything.

I believe:

“Every life is better with Christ at its center, but that means that Christ must become, more and more, the animating center of all you do and say.”
Rankin Wilbourne, excerpted from “Union With Christ” in “Men of Integrity” magazine

god-anything-possibleThis is what I believe, yes, the every life would be better. But how I put this into effect is only by making my life better, by keeping Christ at its center, letting Him, more and more, be the animating force of all I do and say.

I can not change you. God will do that. And He just may work through what you see me do and hear me say.

Only What Is (And Has Been) Foretold

I feel it necessary to make a correction to Scripture. Indeed.

2 Timothy 3

:1 Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days.
:2 People We will love only themselves ourselves and money. They We will be proud and boast only about themselves ourselves. (Note: see my post’s first line.) They We will abuse each other with politically incorrect, sarcastic-yet-hurtful, intended as humorous except when delivered with real anger and unfortunately received by the now super thin-skinned insults. They We will not obey their our parents ancesters and their wise “people-who-forget-history-are-doomed-to-repeat-it” advice. They We will be ungrateful and against all that is pleasing to God, our Creator, who, being The Creator, so obviously knows what is and what will be, and told us so in writing.
:3 They We will have no love for others and will refuse to forgive anyone, especially those who insult us (see verse 2)They We will be cruel and hate what is good, and especially hate to admit when we are wrong and, therefore, we will not make prompt amends, if at all.
:4 People We will turn against their our friends and fellow, equal under the “law” but not in actual practice citizens. They We will do foolish and impractical, silly, ridiculous, ironic things to our own selves without thinking and yet still will be so proud of themselves ourselves. Instead of loving God, The Creator, from whom all GOOD comes, they we will love pleasure, and our own “security, significance, satisfaction, (our own version of) justice, belonging, comfort, (and fulfillment of our own) physical needs, etc” instead of intentionally watching out and caring for others, any others, our others, all others. (Quote from Jim Johnston)
:5 They We will go on pretending to be devoted to God, or, if we’ve given up believing, to some ideal of “good without God”, but they we will refuse to let that “devotion” change the way they we live. And, oh so sadly and unfortunately, it will never again be possible to stay away from these people in this lifeFrom us. Each and every one of us. Any one of us. Because there is only us. Human beings, under God, our Creator. The only “them” is from and of Satan. Evil. Separation from God. The “Ruler of this world.”

Ephesians 6:12 Our fight is not against people of earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. There is a conspiracy. A conspiracy of evilness and its unholy desires.

2 Corinthians 4:4 The ruler of this world has blinded the minds of those us/we who don’t believe and even us/we who still try to believe. They We cannot see -or even slightly comprehend – the light of the Good News – the message about the divine greatness of Christ. Christ is the one who is exactly like God.

1 Corinthians 2:6 We each, but certainly not 100% of the time, in our actions or our words, try to teach wisdom to people who are mature – but so little of the time we are mature – but the wisdom we teach is not from this world. It is not the wisdom of the rulers of this world, who are losing their power, and are losing control, as civilizations continues its descent into evil and anarchy.

This has all been prophesied. Why will we not see? We can not see, as part of the purpose – part of the hard way to a repaired, redeemed, and restored creation.