This message is for every Christian who is on the brink of exhaustion, overwhelmed by your present situation. You have been a faithful servant, feeding others, confident that God can do the impossible for his people. Yet you have lingering doubts about God’s willingness to intervene in your present struggle.
Think of those in the Body of Christ whom you have given words of faith and hope, people facing seemingly hopeless situations. You’ve urged them, “Hang on! God is a miracle worker, and his promises are true. Don’t lose hope — he is going to answer your cry.”
Jesus made a statement to believers in every generation: “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way” (Matthew 15:32). He is telling us, “I will do more for my people than heal them. I’m going to make sure they have enough bread to eat. I am concerned about everything concerning their lives.”
We all believe God can work miracles. We believe in every miracle we have read in Scripture. Yet, that is not enough. God’s question to all his people right now is, “Do you believe I can work a miracle for you?” And not just one miracle, but a miracle for every crisis, every situation we face.
Our faith in troubled times obtains for us the testimony of “a good report.” “For by [their faith] the elders obtained a good report” (Hebrews 11:2). The Greek word for “obtained” here means “to bear witness, to become a testimony.” Our ancestors in the Lord had a settled, anchored faith. And their unwavering faith became a testimony to the world of God’s faithfulness in the midst of troubled times.
As you rest in him through storms, holding your faith position, you are obtaining a “good report.” And you are serving as a beacon of hope to those around you. Those who watch your life — at home, at work, on your block —are learning that hope is available to them.
Our God has supplied us with everything needed to sustain our faith, even as calamities increase. We have been given the witness of the Holy Spirit, who abides in us, and God’s fully revealed Word in the Scriptures. These will sustain us, obtaining for us the testimony of a good report even as the world shakes.
God’s people need a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a supernatural touch even greater than the one at Pentecost. Jesus’ followers at Pentecost didn’t have to fear nuclear weapons. They didn’t tremble as the entire world economy hovered on the brink of collapse.
It is clear we need Holy Ghost power to face these last days. Indeed, the cry that’s called for today was heard in Isaiah’s day: “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down … to make Your name known” (Isaiah 64:1-2).
This cry was uttered by a prophet grieving over the lethargy of God’s people, a man who knew clearly what was needed: a supernatural visitation from the Lord. Isaiah was saying, “Lord, we can’t go on as we have, with the same dead religious routine. We need a touch from you such as we’ve never known.”
Christ’s church today has been blessed with more tools for evangelism than any other generation. We have more media outlets for the gospel — more books, websites, TV and radio — than ever before. Yet, in nation after nation, a Christian can walk into a Bible-believing church and come away without experiencing the presence of Jesus.
One hundred twenty believers had gathered in a rented room in Jerusalem at a time much like Isaiah’s day — a period of great religious observance, with multitudes flocking to the temple. There was great pageantry, and yet these assemblies were lifeless, with the people merely going through the motions, observing rituals.
How could this be? This generation had sat under the fiery preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus himself had walked among them, working miracles. Yet they were lifeless, dry, empty. Jesus never gave up on his people, however, and prophesied to his disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The hundred and twenty disciples gathered in the Upper Room “with one accord in one place” (2:1). And we know what happened. The Holy Spirit fell upon them and every mountain of opposition was melted. Many were saved and the church was established.
Right now, the Lord is hearing his people’s cry all over the world. And he is pouring out his Holy Spirit with his own cry: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). As the Spirit falls and stirs our hearts, let this be our cry also: “Behold, Jesus is coming. Let us go out to meet him!”
The writer of Hebrews says to his readers, “By this time you ought to be teachers” (Hebrews 5:12). These are strong, bold words. Who exactly is the writer addressing here? In short, who is he rebuking? The book of Hebrews shows us he is speaking to believers who have been well-schooled in biblical truth. In other words, those reading this letter had sat under powerful preaching by many anointed ministers. Consider all that these Christians had been taught:
All this is found in the first four chapters of Hebrews and now, in chapter 5, the writer addresses those gathered: “After all this sound teaching, you are still dull of hearing and need someone to teach you.”
Does this apply to you? Think of all that has been learned by this present generation of Christians. How many sermons have we heard that challenge us to trust the Lord in all things? How many times have we heard God’s incredible promises preached? And yet, how often are we quickly deflated when a trial comes?
Dearly beloved, what is your life saying to those around you? How does the book of your life read? Are you a teacher in hard times, ministering to others by your example? It is impossible to keep faith without boldly going to the throne in prayer for all you need. I urge you to go to the Lord daily for all the mercy you need. He is calling you forth as one of his teachers!
“[God] said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ Then [Moses] said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here’” (Exodus 33:14-15).
Moses knew it was God’s presence among them that set them apart from all other nations. The same is true of God’s people today. The only thing that sets us apart from nonbelievers is God’s presence “with us,” leading us, guiding us, working his will in and through us. His presence drives out fear and confusion.
Moses’ attitude was essentially, “We operate on one principle alone. The only way for us to be guided and survive in these times is to have God’s presence with us. When his presence is in our midst no one can destroy us. But without him we are helpless, reduced to nothing. Let all the nations of the world trust in their mighty armies, iron chariots and skilled soldiers. We will trust in the presence of the Lord.”
Consider King Asa, the man who led God’s people to a miraculous victory over Ethiopia’s million-man army. He testified it was God’s presence that had scattered the enemy: “Asa cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us … for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude … So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa” (2 Chronicles 14:11-12).
As Asa led his triumphant army back to Jerusalem, the prophet Azariah met him at the city gate with this message: “Hear me, Asa … The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you … but when in their trouble [Israel] turned to the Lord God … and sought Him, He was found by them” (2 Chronicles 15:2-4). The Lord reminded Asa in no uncertain terms: “Asa, it was my presence that got you this victory and don’t you ever forget it.”
I cannot imagine how unbelievers can know any peace whatsoever in these perilous times without the presence and assurance of Jesus. Fear and anguish now hang over humankind like a black cloud. Thank God for the nearness and closeness of Jesus in this awful hour. He rejoices over you and will walk with you through everything.
“It is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16, ESV). There are two elements of Jesus’ life that are meant to be part of our lives too. That is, we are to be holy and anointed. Some Christians might be intimidated when they hear this. “Sure, I live a moral life and I do my best to be godly — but holy? And anointed? How could that happen with all my failures?”
But there it is, straight from Peter’s pen. The only way this could happen is if Jesus gave us his own holiness and anointing, and that’s exactly what he did, through his perfect sacrifice for us. Christ lived a spotless life on earth, and through his perfect life on earth, his payment for our sins is thorough and endless.
Christ’s work for us — his crucifixion, death, and resurrection — did more than cleanse us of sin. Through it, he also imparted to us his righteousness. Think about what an amazing thing this is: While all our sin is on him, all his righteousness is on us.
One of the sins God cleanses us of is our deep belief that our behavior makes us righteous. We can never earn our way to a higher level of righteousness; we’re made righteous by him alone. That’s where our victory lies. As Paul testifies, “I can no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9, NLT).
You may feel holy only on days when you’re doing well, worshipful and conscious of God in every way. But don’t mistake that for a state of holiness. You can never be holier than Jesus’ blood makes you. So, by his power, we are his worthy witnesses not just in good times but in bad times as well.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12, ESV).
The key to our belief is that he is at work already. Accept his holiness, no matter what you think of yourself, and receive his anointing to fulfill the works he has prepared for you. He’ll open every door and you’ll see him perform unexpected wonders!