Feeling Down? Look Up!

images“We know that we are of God, and that the whole world is under the power of the evil one.” (1 John chapter 5, verse 19). World events proclaim the evil one constantly. It is easy to feel overwhelmed. That Bible verse clearly declares the world is made up of two specific groups …a) those who ‘know’ they are of God, and b) the rest. Is that too blunt? It’s true. If like me, you are aware of international events and the daily news, you are aware of the violence and hate that surrounds us. We live on this planet, so that ferocity impacts our lives, our families and our friends.

There is a depravity on earth but God is aware of it. “And Yahweh saw that the evil of humankind was great upon the earth, and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was always only evil. And Yahweh regretted that he had made humankind on the earth, and he was grieved in his heart. And Yahweh said, “I will destroy humankind whom I created from upon the face of the earth, from humankind, to animals, to creeping things, and to the birds of heaven, for I regret that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh.” Genesis chapter 5, verses 5-8)

Mankind was so offensive to his holiness and righteousness, the flood came and to use a popular phrase, the swamp was drained. He promised not to do that again but instead to provide a way out. He sent Jesus Christ to be our ark. Like Noah we find our safety and security in Him. (I love the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, came to tell Noah he was safe!)

The prophet Isaiah encouraged us: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God will raise a standard against him!” (Isaiah chapter 59 verse 19)

Think about the phrase ‘the whole world is in under the power of the evil one.’ That is huge, the whole world?

Evil age

The Bible calls the whole world ‘this present evil age!’ The Apostle Paul wrote to the church saying: ‘Christ gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age.” (Galatians chapter 1, verse 4)

Jesus taught His disciples to pray ‘deliver us from evil!” I have been stunned throughout the years to watch the venom of anti-Semitism. Year after year Israel and the Jewish people have been targets. Throughout their persistent ordeal they have looked to the promises. They turn to their prophets. Much encouragement from Isaiah: “Do not be afraid! For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are mine!” These words have encouraged, comforted and uplifted the Jews through their persistent and horrific ordeals. “When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned!” That verse does not say there will be no more fires, but the Father will nullify the consequences. (Read Isaiah chapter 43)

Goodness

images-1I loved a comment made recently by evangelist Reinhard Bonnke on his Facebook page: “ If the enemy can come like a flood, so can the Lord – a flood driven by the gales of the Almighty! God is at work as a driving force – a force for goodness. The Bible concept is of goodness flooding from heaven. “I will pour out my Spirit” (Joel 2:29) – not just a fine sprinkling but great gushes of water. Water is a sign of life in its fullness – “Whoever believes in me,” Jesus said, “streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:38). Be flooded today by the goodness of God.”

Goodness is described as not a mere passive quality. Goodness is to be embraced. Scripture says ‘Yahweh is good – a refuge in the day of distress, he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum chapter 1, verse 7) Maybe today you need more awareness of that refuge. The world can be overwhelming!

The prophet Zechariah call goodness ‘great’. – Zechariah chapter 9, verse 17. David said goodness is satisfying – Psalm 65, verse 4.

The words of David are appropriately translated by the Lexham English Bible – “Surely goodness and loyal love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will stay in the house of Yahweh for a very long time’ – Psalm chapter 23, verse 6.

I was challenged recently by a quote attributed to George Bernard Shaw: “A native American elder once described his inner struggles in this manner – Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil’ The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good time all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most.”

It is about focus. Consider these wise words from Paul: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians chapter 3, verses 2)