We Are Living In TESTING TIMES
By Lily Sinke (Paraparaumu, New Zealand).
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Whose power no foe can withstand). I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and My Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust” (Psalm 91:1-2 , Amplified Bible).
As we see world events escalating and accelerating at an alarming pace, we have great and awesome promises to hold on to from the Word of God.
Timothy warned that in the last days grievous times would set in – times of great stress and trouble, hard to deal with and hard to bear. The word “grievous” is also translated as perilous, and is also used as “fierce” when speaking of the Gadarene demoniacs who were under the control of demons “so fierce and savage that nobody was able to pass that way”.
Persecution and hatred against Christianity is rising. In the Middle East, there has been a genocide of Christians to a point that they are close to extinction in Iraq; “hate speech” laws threaten our freedom of speech; violence and profanity are on the increase; indoctrination of our children is taking place in schools; restraints are being taken off abortion so that even infanticide is becoming the order of the day.
Surely society is becoming “fierce and savage”.
Surely we are seeing the people that Timothy described in 2 Timothy Chapter 3.
Surely the faith of Christians is being tested.
Part of the Angel’s message to the church in Philadelphia was: “I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My Message and have not renounced or denied My Name……..Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance (have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give You) I also will keep you (safe) from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown” (Revelation 3 : 8, 10-11).
We are in a time of testing. Not only is persecution and hatred rising from the world, but the great falling away is happening in the Church. Deception is rife. Many are embracing false doctrines and forsaking the Only and True God. Lawlessness is abounding, leading to love growing cold!
But note what He says:
They have not denied His Name.
Jesus said “Many will come in My Name.” We cannot deny that there is only one name by which man can be saved. When Jesus comes, those who have denied His name will know who the faithful church is and was
They have kept and guarded His Word2.
They didn’t have money or power or influence like the Laodicean Church – but they had Jesus, they had the truth, and they were faithful with what they did have.
They kept His commandment to persevere.
When times became tough, they kept on with patient endurance, even though they had little strength.
“Here (comes in a call for) the steadfastness of the saints – the patience, the endurance of the people of God – those who (habitually) keep God’s commandments and (their) faith in Jesus” (Revelation 14:12 , Amplified Bible).
“Whoever leads into captivity……Herein is (the call for) the patience and the faith and the fidelity of the saints (God’s people)” (Revelation 13:10 , Amplified Bible).
The words “perseverance”, “endurance” or “patience” are used many times in the Bible but in these two particular contexts the word in Greek literally means “an abiding under”.
The Scriptures are telling us to take the lower position and to remain in a given place, state, relationship or expectancy; to abide, continue, dwell, endure, remain, not recede or flee; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere under misfortunes and trials and hold fast to one's faith in Christ.
According to Psalm 91:9 God is our habitation and refuge. When we rely on Him during all dangers and difficulties; when we live a life of constant communion with Him and continue to remain in Him, then we abide under the shadow of the Almighty. His hope shall not disappoint us, but we shall find a safe and comforting place of “rest” under the immediate shadow and protection of the Divine Almighty Protector.
Revelation 3:12 : “He who overcomes…….” The world stage is being set for the final hours. In this time, there is an overcoming to take place.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18 ).
The exhortation is to hold fast, that no one may take your crown. Keep a tight grip on it. Don’t let anyone distract you.
The promise is that each conqueror will have a permanent position of honour.
But not only that, He will keep us safe from the hour of testing! Where? Those who have kept His commandments have remained in the secret place of security – under the shadow of His wings! The shadow of His presence has become a refuge and a fortress!
What a wonderful promise to hold on to in the days that we are in! In fact the whole of Psalm 91 talks about the secret place of security. It’s a testimony to the security of those who put their trust in God.
When I read the words of this Psalm I am reminded of a Pastor in Ethiopia and his story that goes back to his younger days during the time of the Communist regime there. Many were imprisoned for their faith. He was being pursued by the Communists, and fell to the ground. As they came nearer, a huge shadow came over him and the Communists passed by, not seeing him. When he looked up, he saw a huge eagle hovering over him, creating the shadow. When he was safe, the eagle flew away. What a miraculous testimony of God’s saving grace and provision!
“He who remains in the secret place of the Most High shall permanently stay under the shadow of the Almighty.”
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”