Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (1 Peter 4: 7-14)
When Peter wrote this epistle, (around 60 – 65 A.D.), he was eagerly anticipating the revelation of Jesus Christ. This was written during the time of Nero’s persecution of the Christians, and the new Church was going through a great trial. But, the 1 Peter letter applies to all of us, who have had to endure all kinds of suffering for being believers.
Even now, the entire world has turned against the United States for our support of Israel:
Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital / Reuters, December 6, 2017
Abbas says Trump’s Jerusalem decision ends historic US role as peace broker / The Times of Israel, December 6, 2017
US decision aims to punish Palestinians seeking peace, Erdoğan says during OIC summit / DAILY SABAH, December 13, 2017
Turkey’s Erdogan says U.S. can no longer be a mediator between Israel and Palestinians / Reuters, December 13, 2017
“We need to discuss who will be a mediator from now on. This needs to be tackled in the UN too,” Erdogan said.
At 30th anniversary rally, Hamas vows to force US reversal on Jerusalem / The Times of Israel, December 14, 2017
Terror group’s leader calls for weekly protests across the region until Trump retracts his declaration recognizing Israel’s capital.
Our Evangelical support of Israel has catalyzed the world against the United States. We need to rejoice now, more than ever! The best way to do that is to delight in Him:
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4)
The Lord loves when we praise Him. In praise, we can achieve victories that are impossible with our own human efforts. And, praising the Lord is a natural result of our being filled with the Holy Spirit.
When you accept Jesus Christ into your life by believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that He is your personal Savior, then you were forgiven by His blood and sealed for redemption by His Spirit.
The deposit of His Holy Spirit guarantees your eternal inheritance:
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
In Greek, the word deposit is arrhabon, which means “a down payment.” If you’ve ever bought a car, you know what arrhabon is all about. You sign a paper and pay a down payment, a deposit, and that is the arrhabon, the guarantee that there is more to come. The presence of the Spirit in your life–the joy and the peace He gives–is the guarantee that there is more yet to come from God. The Spirit is the down payment on a much greater, fuller, richer experience of God than you have ever known before. The Holy Spirit is just the beginning of the blessings you will receive in Christ.
Paul goes on to say that this deposit or down payment guarantees our inheritance “until the redemption of those who are God’s possession,” as the NIV puts it. In the original Greek, this phrase is literally “until the redemption of the walk-around.” This sounds strange to our ears, but the first century readers of Ephesians instantly understood this phrase as a reference to the custom of buying a piece of ground and then going out and walking around it to symbolically establish your ownership rights to that ground. By walking around the property, you made it yours. It was a sign that the property was now in your name.
That is what Paul says God has done with us. It is not we who acquire God, but He who acquires us. He has made the down-payment on our lives, the Holy Spirit, and that preserves us as His possession until He returns to claim his purchased possession–your life and mine, which is now in His name. We have the Kingdom of Heaven to look forward to, as our eternal inheritance, where we will continually take delight in the Lord.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)
And so, even with all the troubles we are experiencing with the trauma of these End Times, we can look forward and rejoice in our new, eternal life in the Lord’s kingdom!