Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. Jesus (from John 10:8-10, The Message).
I have an obsession with life. Yes, I love to live! That should not come as a surprise to anyone though I am quite confident most people do not share my enthusiasm, even though the most lucrative business these days is probably pharmaceutics. From the time of the casting of Satan and his angels out of heaven, the darkness of death has clouded the waking thoughts of every living creature and haunted their dreams. It is the fountain from which fear flows and its evocation elicits terror from the most courageous. Dark poetry redounds with its glorification and the macabre throbs with its anguish. But I ask this question in the face of our present situation, “What's this obsession with death and with dying?”
Obsession With Life
What's this obsession with death and with dying,
Where people are groaning and crying and sighing
This strong predilection t'ward vi'lence and mayhem,
To killings and torture meant to dismay them?
Emotions, I know, find keenest expression,
Expressing horrible doubts and depression
But doubt, fear and dread are the meanest rendition
Of things that express the human condition.
'Tis true life's not simply sunshine and flowers,
Or blue birds and posies and lovely spring showers
One mustn't go skipping through life never caring,
That much of it must be spent giving and sharing
But the dark side's the bad side just never forget it,
And good can come in from the bright side so let it
If there's life then there's hope, so keep smiling and humming,
For if you keep on smiling then joy will keep coming
In spite of the rain and the death and the dying,
There's good for the finding so just keep on trying.
Jesus is the purveyor of life. His smile brings in the morning, our hearts swell from His touch, and hope: hope blossoms and bursts rose fragrant the moment we sense His presence. He has passed through and from the portals of death and carried from its depths the documents intended to bind the living in its terrifying chambers. We need not wither there for the Great Judge has exacted payment from His Son, who carrying our condemnation before Him took upon Himself the punishment intended for us. We may therefore smile as we bow before the grim reaper, who beheld through the veil of Christ's suffering, glows with angelic grace and whose hand now warm with holy comfort, leads rather than compels us into our eternal destiny.
The great enemy would have us fear. He would terrify us with threats and innuendo; with accusations and judgments. On the other hand, as a deceiver, he may choose to hide himself in light and befriend us as a brother. Perhaps he will preach soft words and lure us into complacent self-appreciation. Is it there he will spring his unsuspected trap? Or, shall we meet him in the shadows that grow daily more substantial? Must we fear the distant humming of war machines whose wheels now grind the faces of the innocent?
One must admit of an overwhelming sense of desperation building storm like on the horizon. Warnings are daily coming from many quarters with scientists, and economists joining our prophets in announcing the coming of a global disaster and the looming promise of a One World solution. Jesus predicted these times and observed that “Men's hearts (would be) failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven (He warned), shall be shaken.” But should we fear?
I must shout as loudly as print may made to shout: NO! Jesus said: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). And, the great poet of the Old Testament wrote: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in" (Psalms 24:7). Then there were the men in white who proclaimed the return of the King, Acts 2:11b, “ . . . this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” Paul joined the chorus when in his letter to the Thessalonians he wrote: “For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
There is no new information here. There is no need for new information. What we have received should lighten every heart in Christendom and bring the entire church to its feet with a joyous shout. The promise is His promise and He cannot lie. Though we cannot tell the when, we know without doubt the what and the why and as surely as the sun shines today and will tomorrow, our hope is a living one.
Be encouraged! Indeed, encourage the encourager to continue to proclaim the inevitable hope. Jesus is about to come back. Praise the Lord!
[Editor's Comment: God has given to us a prophetic voice in Ronald Gadberry. He is an ordained minister of the IPHC, and serves as an evangelist. and a member of the New Horizons Ministries Conference. He is offering his services as an evangelist and singer to pastors of churches who are now preparing their 2016 revival and preaching mission services.
You may contact Ronald Gadberry at the following address and/or telephone numbers:
The Rev. Mr. Ronald Gadberry
509 Cottage Park Lane
Shawnee, Oklahoma 74804
1-405-834-0479 / 1-405-808-2937
He will do your church good.]