Jesus predicted that the last days will be a time of unprecedented fear. His very words were: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's 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).
David committed adultery with Bathsheba, "...and the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" (2 Samuel 11:27). Bathsheba became queen, and David went about his kingly duties. One day, perhaps while in a high government session with foreign ambassadors, someone approached the king and whispered, "Sir, the prophet Nathan is here. He's impatient and insists on seeing you right now. He says it's a matter of life and death!"
"O God, why hast Thou rejected us forever? Why does Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture? Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old, which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; and Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt. Turn Thy footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; the enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Thine adversaries have roared in the midst of Thy meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs. It seems as if one had lifted up his axe in a forest of trees.
"That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death" (Philippians 3:10).
Fellowship is the union of friends sharing similar interests or problems. To suffer is to feel pain or distress.
Paul yearned to share the pain and distress that Christ experienced. Did he not have enough suffering in his own life? Did he not have the hurts and cares of all the churches heavy upon his heart? Yet still he prays — "Oh, that I might know how to share Christ's pain and hurt."
"I have left for me seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and whose mouths have not kissed him" (l Kings 19:18).
I have wonderful news for every Christian who is discouraged by the apathy and godlessness in this nation. Let it be known that no matter how wicked and corrupt this society becomes; no matter how many Christians compromise; no matter how many fall into sin - God still has a mighty remnant who are holy, separated, and true to Himself.
It was Jesus’ final night with the disciples and he knew his time was short. They had just finished supper and Christ wanted to impart to his friends one last teaching while on earth. He summoned them, “Rise, let us go from here” (John 14:31, ESV) and led them on a walk. Along the way he gave them this analogy:
I travel around the world for ministry, and when I’m in a Buddhist nation I pray for the people there to know Jesus. When I’m in the Muslim world, I pray for the people there to have a revelation of Christ. And when I’m in Israel, I pray for every Israelite to know Jesus. I want all the peoples of the world to know the reality of Jesus. Then when I return home, I pray every Christian would know Jesus too!
The Power of Gratitude in Your Deepest Struggles
I don’t know if you believe in love at first sight, but Jacob did. When he first saw Rachel, he knew wanted to marry her. “Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Jacob loved Rachel. And he said [to her father, Laban], ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel’” (Genesis 29:17-18, ESV).
That’s how I felt when I first encountered Kelly, who became my wife. When we met as teenagers, I gladly would have worked seven years if it meant I could marry her. I know exactly how Jacob felt.
When I was a teenager, I spent my summers helping out on a ranch in east Texas. The ranch manager, Jimmie, was a big, strapping guy who had limited eyesight but knew how to do all kinds of things. Jimmie taught me how to mow and haul hay, for instance, and how to insert pills in cows’ parts. (Yes, Jimmie knew a lot about a lot of things.)