May All God's People Rejoice! 


 

 Contender Ministries

 Posted:  August 19, 2002


“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”

– Psalm 5:11

Many of you have read the emails we receive at Contender Ministries.  You know that we receive a lot of negative email, but we also receive some very encouraging ones.  The former is to be expected, as the pursuit of truth and exposing of godlessness is not always popular.  The latter uplifts us, and the Lord uses those to encourage us to press on, when we might otherwise be feeling low.

Our newsletter subscribers represent many different nations.  At present, we have contenders subscribing from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, Scotland, The Philippines, New Zealand, Malawi, Israel, Denmark, Canada, Australia, and American Samoa.  In a world that is increasingly hostile towards evangelical Christians, it is important to encourage each other in the Lord.

“Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
How awesome is the Lord Most High,
the great King over all the earth!”

-- Psalm 47:1,2

Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world.  False prophets, cults, and secular humanists are doing their best to defeat the followers of Almighty God.  Reading the daily news can often make one despair.  It is important to remember that our hope does not rest on or in the things of this world.  God is still in control, and our futures are sealed with Him for eternity.  Some of you may not have many Christian friends, but you are not alone.  Jesus is our ever-present savior, and is always just a whisper away.  Jesus said,

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – John 16:21,22

The world in which we live is temporary.  Life can be hard for all of us from time to time, but the Lord is our strength and our hope.  Such hope lifts up and sustains Christians like Ayub Masih.  Ayub is the Pakistani Christian who was convicted of blasphemy for telling a Muslim that Christianity was “right”, and for recommending that he read Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.  The Pakistani Supreme Court recently overturned Masih’s blasphemy conviction.  Ayub escaped the mandatory sentence of death, but may still pay that price at the hands of militant Muslims who are angered over his release.  Pray for Ayub.  Pray that the Lord’s loving and protective arms would envelope him.  But do not despair for him.  Should he fall at the hands of the unbelievers, he will find himself in the presence of our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Imagine Ayub’s joy as his Savior embraces him and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Welcome home.” 

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

        Colossians 1:10-12

My wife and I recently attended the Puget Sound Festival in Redmond, Washington.  This area has the lowest percentage of believers of any area in the United States.  But on that night we joined with thousands upon thousands of believers in praising God and listening to some powerful music and an uplifting message of morality and God’s love.  We saw hundreds of people give their lives to Jesus that night.  After the speaker led in the prayer of salvation, he had the new Christians raise their hands, so counselors could come speak to each of them individually.  We were near the back, and Jennifer noticed a woman near us waving her hand wildly.  Tears were streaming down her face, and her newfound joy was evident.  Another woman walked up and embraced her, sharing with her the love of Christ that moves through His people.    When she saw a counselor approaching, she didn’t wait for him to get to her.  She ran towards him, just as she had so recently ran into the arms of her savior.  These are the moments we are here for.  People like her are the reasons we must endure, and fight the good fight.  She is why we must contend for the faith.

“Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord , all the earth.
Sing to the Lord , praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

-- Psalm 96:1-3

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.  I believe there is a measure of truth in that.  Looking into the eyes of the lost, I can sense the despair and loneliness.  The eyes of the saved reflect the source of our joy – hope.  We have the hope of the promises of Jesus Christ.  Our existence here is transient, but our future in Christ is assured!

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:11,12

What a blessing it is to know that God is omnipotent!  Our Almighty God – who was, and is, and is to come, created the universe and all that is within it!  He spoke the oceans, the mountains, and the stars in the sky into existence.  Even the demons acknowledge His supremacy, and they fear Him.  How wonderful it is to know that the God who commands the universe is able to know each of us personally.  How joyous it is to know that he loves us, and cares for us.  How awesome to know that even the hairs on our heads are numbered by Him.  We don’t deserve His mercy and compassion, but He gives them to us anyway!  Be strong in the Lord!  Be of good cheer!  You are contenders of the faith, and children of Almighty God.  Endure the suffering, so that in the end, you may declare as Paul did to Timothy:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7,8

 

Contender Ministries

http://contenderministries.org