Greetings in the name of our Christ, the majestic King Jesus. I pray you all had a delicious Thanksgiving. Michelle and I did, with only one mishap . . . when a pumpkin pie turned into pumpkin pudding (although it was still very good)!
Now, it is the Christmas Season! What a beautiful time of the year with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. There is no other time of the year like it . . . with the awesome music and lights, wow, what sights to behold. Yet, there are many sights right now that aren’t so beautiful. In fact, they are quite horrifying and terrible. There are wars being fought all around the world, many are without food, and there are sicknesses and diseases plaguing people to which no cure can be given. Jesus spoke of these times in Matthew:
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” –Matthew 24:6-7
Such occurrences Jesus calls the “beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:8). These very “things” may be affecting you or someone close to you. This time of year can be disheartening for many as they reflect on what life used to be. We think about the loved ones who have passed on, or of relationships that have been broken. I think of the hundreds of families in Paris and California that will be without their loved ones for the first time this year.
The sorrows Jesus spoke of began in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Today, these sorrows continue, such as the recent terrorism in Paris California, and they will intensify. In fact, sorrows will continue from now throughout the Tribulation Period; however, Jesus tells us He will keep us from this period known as the “hour of trial” (adversity) that will come upon the earth at that time – if we keep His Word.
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” –Revelation 3:10
The sorrows that happen during the Tribulation Period (“hour of trial”) are even greater than what we see happening today. And the trials that will come during the second half (or second 3-½ year time span) of the Tribulation will be greater still when God’s wrath is poured out in full strength.
You might be thinking, “Now, Brother Byerly, this all seems very heavy right here at Christmas, which is supposed to be such a glorious time . . . “ I understand that, so let me explain. The Words of our Father will come to pass . . . nothing can stop that. But which Words are you focusing on? His Words concerning the world, or His Words concerning the blood-bought people of God?
You see, the bringer of sorrows is Satan – this has always been the case. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that the thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill, and destroy. However, we cannot be focused on these things. In the same verse, Jesus says that He (Jesus) came to give you abundant life. You must have your thoughts focused on what the heavenly Father is doing, but continue to be aware of the schemes of our enemy.
Christmas is a great time to do just that – focus on God’s plan. The plan is all about the Father giving His Son for mankind. This is the greatest act of love that has ever been done. You are counted in this plan because you are part of mankind. The love that the Father has for people has been placed into your heart for the purpose of spreading the good news of the Gospel.
We are not to be troubled by all the events that must come to pass, but remain focused on the assignment God has given us. The word “persevere” in Revelation 3:10 means “cheerful endurance.” God wants you to be full of cheer about what He is doing so that you can endure the trials of life. In order to be cheerful, you must have JOY. Cheer and joy are words we find very common around the Christmas Season.
The primary act that creates joy and cheer is LOVE. Yes, love is an act. It is not just a feeling or sentiment. The Father did something when He sent Jesus. He wasn’t just feeling something or being sentimental. He took action! He gave His own flesh and blood so we could partake of His divine nature. Today, we hear preachers say that we don’t have to do anything . . . that it has all been done for us. However, let’s see what the Apostle John records Jesus saying about this very thing:
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:9-12
The Father loved Jesus, so He gave Jesus orders to follow. Jesus followed the Fathers orders as a way of life (abiding). By doing so, Jesus lived a perfect life of love. If we keep Jesus’ orders that He gave us as a way of life, then we can live a perfect life of love. Now, let me say, I don’t know of anyone who has done this perfectly as Jesus did; however, His grace will make up for us where we fall short as we press toward this goal.
Second, we are to love others the same way Jesus has loved us, by living according to the kingdom of God and evangelizing – which means giving our testimony of walking in His love and keeping His commandments. He told us this so His joy would fill us and we could be of good cheer as we persevere in every endeavor.
We have been equipped with everything we need to get by (with smiles on our faces) in these End Times. It is as simple as doing acts of love. One way you could do this is by sending a love offering to a ministry like ours. We work to see people come into the kingdom of God and be set free from fear of these perilous times in which we live and to be filled with joy.
We are so thankful for you and your support. We could not do it without you. I pray your Christmas this year will be full of acts of love (the acts you do and the ones done for you). I call you blessed, healed, and whole in the mighty name of Jesus.
Until next time, Have a Merry Christmas celebrating His first coming, looking for His next!