The Tribulation

I believe all Christians should be prepared for tribulation. It could be “the” tribulation or “a” tribulation. It really does not matter at all. We follow and trust Christ no matter what. When “Babylon” requires allegiance, we refuse to give our allegiance to anyone other than Christ. During the time of the Maccabees, Jews refused the “mark” of eating pork and were beaten and killed. Christians in China during the Cultural Revolution refused the “mark” of reverencing Chairman Mao and were beaten and killed.

I wrote the base pages on this site in 2009. The blog posts start from that time and then stop at 2012 and begin again 2020. The pages, parts 1 – 5, are about living through The Tribulation, but the same biblical principles apply no matter the type of tribulation. Throughout history, Christians have been martyred for following Christ. Paul talks about sharing in Christ’s suffering.

Read through the five parts and think through the Scripture. Read through the posts and be encouraged. I’ve turned off comments, but I have opened a Facebook page if you want to discuss. This isn’t about knowing what’s going to happen. We don’t need to know the details. We need to know Him. Know your Good Father. Spend time with Him and get to know Him through His Word.

If you want more teaching, I have hundreds of Bible lessons.

The Trial Is the Deliverance


Before Jonah needed delivering from the belly of the great fish, he needed deliverance from the ocean and from himself. The trial of the fish was his deliverance first. Jonah was disobeying God, a sure way leading to death. He faced death being thrown into the ocean. Being swallowed by the great fish was an act of mercy, God’s deliverance. God saved him from drowning and gave him a chance to repent and to obey God’s command to go to Nineveh.

Genesis 8 begins with, “And God remembered Noah.” He then delivers him from the ark by sending a wind to dry up the waters. Noah needed deliverance from the tool of deliverance. The ark itself was a trial. Their family spent more than a year on the boat. The trial of the ark was deliverance from the destruction of the flood.

The Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt was their trial of the wilderness.

Ruth’s trial of her husband’s death and leaving her homeland and family was her deliverance, bringing her into God’s family.

Rahab’s trial of faith, hiding the spies and lying to her countrymen, was her deliverance.

When Paul tells the Corinthians to kick the sinner out of the church, the trial is for his deliverance. When he says he’s turned “such a one over to Satan,” the tribulation is for their deliverance. It leads to repentance.  

We shouldn’t be quick to seek an end to our trials and tribulations. They are meant for our deliverance.

God is our deliverer. He delivered Jonah from the belly of the great fish. He delivered Noah from the ark. He delivered Ruth from her situation and Rahab from destruction. He is the deliverer. Running to every other means of ending our trials and tribulations means that we are missing the point entirely. It’s declaring we don’t believe God is in control, that we don’t believe God’s will is being done in our lives.

If we believed it to be God’s will, we’d submit to it and not try to get away from it, apart from humbling ourselves before God. If we don’t believe the trial to be God’s will, then we don’t believe God is all-powerful and in control. If you don’t believe He’s powerful enough to save you from today’s trouble, how can you be sure you believe He can save you from hell?

God’s tribulations are for believers. The trials and tribulations are His deliverance! Wanting to escape The Tribulation is rejecting God’s plan of deliverance for His people! 

Blameless Before Him

They have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him

Daniel 6:22

In the last post, I wrote about how the church responded to the pandemic with fear instead of faith. How they didn’t know the God who saves.

Daniel knew.

No kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel 6:23

How could Daniel trust God? He knew Him. He knew, even as heathen King Darius did, that God is one who “delivers and rescues.” God saves. It’s who He is. When God arrives on the earth in the flesh, His name is Jesus, which means God saves. It’s who He is.

Daniel also knew that God wasn’t punishing him for something by allowing this. He knew he was blameless before God. Do you know the same?

Again, if you don’t, you don’t know the God of the Bible. You may know about Him, but you don’t know Him. His children He washes clean of their sins and clothes them in the righteousness of Christ, a perfect righteousness. And He gives them the power to overcome temptation and sin. In fact, they becomes slaves of righteousness. They have to do the right thing.

They are blameless in God’s sight by the power and goodness and mercy and grace of God. They know it and are thankful. And they approach God’s throne with confidence and are accepted and welcomed and rewarded. They are saved!

But If Not…

  1. It is going to rain.
  2. If that’s so, we should take an umbrella.
  3. But if not, it wouldn’t hurt to have one with us.
  1. I’ll throw you into the fiery furnace!
  2. If that’s so, God will save us.
  3. But if not, we still won’t worship you.
  1. If you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
  2. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
  3. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:15-18)

I don’t know which translators first fiddled with those words to make them say in some translations, “Even if He does not.” (The NIV says it this way. You may find the words in your Bible in italics because those words aren’t really what it says; that’s why they are in italics.) How as a church did we start to believe that the three Hebrew men said, “But if God doesn’t save us, we won’t serve and worship your gods.” That doesn’t even make any logical sense. When they are a pile of ashes, they won’t serve his gods? What a laughable statement!

How did we get there? When did we stop believing our God saves?

Why did so many churches look like the world over the last year? They didn’t believe that God saves. Why are churches following the “wisdom of this world” which says you can’t go in the fire or you’ll get burned? They don’t believe that God saves.

The God of the Bible saves. The God of the Bible heals. The God of the Bible protects. The God of the Bible provides. Who is your God?

And that’s the worst part of it all. We don’t even know who He is. We don’t know the one we say is our God. Jesus didn’t die to “save” us. He died so that our relationship with God could be restored. We’re supposed to be in relationship with God. If you were walking and talking with God every day, how could you live in fear and be following the world? 

When God Doesn’t Follow Our Plan

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

Mary and Martha had sent for Jesus. That was their prayer, their cry for help, “Come save our brother.” God purposefully doesn’t do as they are wanting. They want Him to come and touch their brother Lazarus and heal him from his sickness.

In the meantime, Lazarus dies. This was God’s plan, His plan for a greater salvation story. Mary and Martha had planned out what God should do. Jesus should come, now, and heal.

When Lazarus died, they could have thought, “God said no.” They could have said, “It wasn’t God’s will to heal.” They could have said, “It’s was Lazarus’ time to go.” They could have said any of those things we say when things don’t go as we want, when our prayers seem to go unanswered.

While they didn’t react with any faith when Jesus shows up, at least they didn’t kick Him out and shoo Him away. They don’t reject Him. They wouldn’t have gotten their miracle at all. They do, however, feel the need to point out His shortcoming in their eyes. Jesus cries at how they don’t even know Him or their good Father.

Having God with them should have brought rejoicing in their hearts. Having God with them should have produced hope and anticipation. Having God with them should have made them realize that not all was lost. Having God with them should have had them believing anything was possible.

But it didn’t. It was like they didn’t know Him at all.

How do you respond to God being with you? Have you ever felt rejected or discouraged, like God ignored your prayers? Have you ever wanted to accuse God, like the disciples did, “Don’t you care?” If you ever did as a believer, then you were like those standing there that day weeping over Lazarus when they should have been rejoicing about the miracle that was about to happen.

Are you living like God is with you? If Jesus walked in the room right now and stood with you, wouldn’t you rejoice that God had heard your prayers? Wouldn’t you know that all hope wasn’t lost, that God was going to act on your behalf and make things all better? Well, He’s there with you now. He’s closer than just in the room with you. He’s in you.

Rejoice! God has heard your prayers! He restores all things! He’s working for your good! Never grieve like one without hope. Hope is alive in you!

Unchanging

In the last post I mentioned Daniel. Let’s think about him a little more. He had been captured by a foreign army. He had been taken from his home with the other exiles. He served His God faithfully, but He was taken away.

What I want you to see in Daniel’s life is that he is unfazed. He is the same no matter what. What he does is the same, no matter what. Jesus is unchanging, and His life in us in unchanging. We can move through life steady on our feet. 🙂

Daniel is noticed for God’s blessing on his life. He is chosen for special training. He gets an education. He gets to serve the king directly. He puts his service to his God first and refuses to eat the king’s food. He will eat as the Lord directs.

He fears God not man. That’s a big key. Man is fickle and trying to please him or reacting to him will throw you off course; you’d have to go this way or that trying to bend to whatever their desire or demand of the day is. Fearing God and not man, keeps our eyes set like flint towards Jesus, our prize.

Daniel is given position and power. He stays steady.

The laws of the land demand his death. He remains steady. He does what he always does. His feet don’t stray from the path. He does what he always has done because that’s what he was supposed to be doing. He prays. He’s arrested. He’s delivered.

No matter what legislation comes our way. No matter what your boss, your leaders, your communities, your colleagues demand, you stay the same. Your mission, your purpose, your truth will not have changed.

Whatever you were supposed to have been doing yesterday, you should have been doing it. You should probably be doing it today too. Whatever you are supposed to be doing today, you should be doing it. If you should be doing it, you probably should have been doing it yesterday. It doesn’t change. We serve God and Him alone and He is unchanging.

Don’t let anything pull you off your assignment, off your focus on Jesus. Love Him alone.

I Will Set My Eyes on Them for Good

“Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Jeremiah 24:5-7 (ESV)

They were exiles. They had lost their homeland. They were going to be gone for seventy years. This was not a little bump in the road. They lost their homes, belongings. They lost their land and crops and income. It’s not what we would call good.

But it had to happen. It had been foretold. Their leaders had led them astray and they hadn’t been following God’s laws, especially the laws of the Sabbath. They hadn’t rested. They hadn’t rested the land. They hadn’t set the slaves free. There were cycles that were meant to be followed and they ignored them. They lived by their own thoughts and wisdom. In choosing to ignore the freedom God offered them, they chose slavery for themselves.

Judah’s leaders were not given this promise of good. They are given a promise of “horror.” There is a distinction, even though all the people have to go through the exile.

There are things that have to happen. There are things declared that must come to pass. Tribulations must happen. The Tribulation must happen. The end must come. But there will be a separation.

There will be those for whom it is a horror. There will be others who are going through it, but God is building them up; His eyes will be on them for good. They will not be forgotten or abandoned. God will turn their hearts to seek Him and to know their God. They will grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord. It will purify them and bring them closer to God.

The Babylonian exile, which this is referring to, is also the time of Daniel and the 3 boys in the fire. Their hearts were already turned to the Lord. They were already serving Him and desiring to know and honor Him with their lives. We know their stories. Their blessing from God was evident and caused them to be noticed for good and for evil. It brought them position and power, but it also brought persecution their way. However, it wasn’t a moment of horror; it was a moment of great glory. God was glorified and His servants were honored.

While we may not get honor in this world, one who walks through the fire by faith is one of whom “the world is not worthy.” You will take your place in the Hall of Faith. How? Just love the Lord above all else.

Two Responses

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord….” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:8-11, 16-20

Jesus is here. God has come, Immanuel, God with us. Mary had been anticipating the moment. The shepherds just heard the good news. Mary treasures what is happening and ponders it all in her heart. The shepherds glorify and praise God and spread the word about all they had just heard, and people are amazed.

Why did the angels appear to the shepherds? Maybe because they were watching their flocks by night since that’s what shepherds do when they are expecting new lambs. A lamb was born, the Lamb who would take away the sins of the world. They were watching for the birth of a lamb and they saw it.

Mary had believed the angel who told her she would have the child Messiah, Jesus, Yeshua, meaning God saves or God’s salvation. She was watching and waiting for the coming Messiah.

We wait and watch again. Messiah will come again, this time to reign in the world as an earthly king, though He will be anything but of this world.

Do you believe He is coming? Are you prepared for His arrival? Are you pondering these things in your heart like Mary? Once the angels are announcing His arrival next time, it will be too late. They are coming with their sickles to gather in the wheat and the chaff, and you’ll want to be part of those being gathered into the barn!

Will you share it and glorify God like the shepherds? Make His great name known. Jesus has come in the flesh. You are living in His kingdom and He’s coming to establish His kingdom on earth. He’s your good Father who takes care of you in every way and is growing you up in the perfect image of Christ, who is already in you. We are sons of God and will live and reign with Him forever. Give Him glory and praise His name.

Habakkuk 1:3-5

Must I forever see these evil deeds?
    Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look,
    I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people
    who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed,
    and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous,
    so that justice has become perverted.

The Lord replied,

“Look around at the nations;
    look and be amazed!
For I am doing something in your own day,
    something you wouldn’t believe
    even if someone told you about it.

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

When Faith Seems to Fail

Hezekiah was one of those good kings. He was a king of Judah described in the Bible as one who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” In fact it’s also said of him:

He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went.  2 Kings 18:5-7

Living by faith and obedience to the Word of God had blessed Hezekiah just like the law had promised. But then something happened. Hezekiah watched Israel get taken captive by Assyria. Hezekiah watched as Judah’s own fortified cities were overthrown by Assyria. Only Jerusalem was left.

It says that Hezekiah had “rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him.” Hezekiah had known a victory over Assyria. But that past victory wasn’t enough when the king of Assyria returned.

He didn’t remember the previous faith victory. He didn’t trust. After all, it seems faithful and upright living wasn’t working for him anymore. His cities had been overthrown. It was already too late. Faith hadn’t worked. He digs down into his own resources and relies on himself for salvation from the Assyrians. He pays off the King of Assyria. He uses the temple gold. Assyria is pleased, and as I always point out to my children, “Bad guys are bad; you can’t trust them.” The King of Assyria returns, encouraged by how Hezekiah backed down earlier. This time, however, Hezekiah has no resources of his own left. He had no way of saving himself, or even trying to. There was nothing or no one else he could turn to. So he turns to God. And God saves him and the city. They didn’t even have to fight. God did the whole thing on His own.

It turns out that faith does work. Faith did work. There are times when the tribulation increases, when it seems like things have already gone the wrong way and that faith hadn’t stopped them or turned things around. But it’s here God gets to see your heart. Will you rely on yourself or will you trust Him? And if we aren’t ready to trust Him, then these tribulations can keep knocking us lower until we have no where else to turn but to God.

Why does God knock us down until we turn to Him? Because we are saved by faith and salvation is what He wants for you. It’s all out of His abundant love and grace that He allows us to endure trials to purify our hearts and perfect our faith. So the next time it seems like faith didn’t work, hunker down, cry out to God and don’t allow your situation to confuse the truth. God is faithful and cannot fail you. Faith saves.