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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

April 11, 2014 - Real Protection

By George P. Wood

Take a look at Revelation 11:3-14 and you'll find a fascinating story about two witnesses God uses to share the gospel in the last days. They proclaim God's message to a rebellious world. Then they are killed by the Antichrist.

"For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth" (Revelation 11:9,10, NIV).

It might seem shocking that God allows His witnesses to be killed. For that matter, Christians struggle with the reality of pain, suffering and death all the time. I'd like to make a point about Revelation 11, namely, that what God protects His people from is not persecution or death, per se, but judgment and what John later calls "the second death" (Revelation 20:14). In other words, God protects His people from the terrors of hell.

I find it important to stress this point for several reasons: (1) Some Christians seem to teach that faith saves you from all the ills of the world: from poverty, sickness, depression, persecution, etc.

That is hardly what Jesus taught: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11,12).

Or consider this categorical statement from Paul: "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). We should not promise others what neither Jesus nor Paul promised us.

And anyway, (2) Christianity is not a panacea for every ill. It is a cure for the very specific sickness of sin and the spiritual and eternal death that results from it if not treated. That cure is resurrection into an eternal life with God. And sure enough, after the short period of time that God allowed His two witnesses to be persecuted and killed, He raised them from the dead and welcomed them into heaven (Revelation 11:11,12).

Seeing this, we are able to affirm that (3) God protects His people, not from all harm, but from ultimate harm, so that through the power of resurrection, they might spend eternity in His presence.

But does such an emphasis on our future resurrection and eternal life make us practically useless on earth? No! The fourth and final point I would like to make about Revelation 11 is simply this: Our job on earth, as we await eternity, is to witness to others about the grace and justice of God, inviting all people to repent and share in the benefits of salvation.

John tells us that the two witnesses "will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." We sometimes think that prophecy is predictive, that is, about the future. But in the Bible, prophecy is also about reminding people of what God requires of them (His justice) and that He is offering them a chance to repent and follow Him (His grace).

As we suffer the world's harms and await God's ultimate salvation of us, let us never forget that now is the time to invite others to experience the eternal protection that God provides all His people.

— George Paul Wood is director of Ministerial Resourcing for the Assemblies of God and author of The Daily Word online devotionals.

 

 

 

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