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Saturday, September 11, 2021

9-11-2021 That none should perish

2 Peter 3:8-9

But beloved, don’t be ignorant of this one thing, one day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years is as if it were only one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise but is longsuffering towards us, for His desire is that no one should perish but that all would come to repentance.

Father always was, still is and always will be.  He is Alpha and Omega (Rev. 1:8), the first and the last. 

I watched an episode of Stargate SG-1 where the team (in a spacecraft) was fired upon by the ‘bad guys’, but due to friendly alien technology, they put themselves in a time bubble.  Outside the bubble, time progressed normally.  Inside the bubble slowed down immensely (for the team).  Or was it the other way around?  The team felt and operated as if they were in regular time but hours could pass in the bubble while only tenths of a second would pass outside.  Get the picture. 

God is infinite.  We can’t determine His beginning nor can we predict or see His end (what end?).  We are ‘finite’, our beginning and end are easily determined (birth and death).  God knows we operate in this finite zone, so He puts up with our foolishness for a long time (as we see it) before He lowers the boom.  That’s why some really nasty people seem to go on and on, like the ‘ever ready bunny’ while other ‘good people’ seem to have their lives cut short.  I guess loves them a little bit more and doesn’t want to even take a chance of them messin’ up!  God gives us foolish ones chance after chance, but eventually He will no longer put up with that foolishness.  Eventually, He will give those (who insist on it) over to their own conceits, a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28).  He will not wrestle with us forever (Gen. 6:3, Rom 3:20-32), but eventually will let us do our ‘own thing’ allowing us to suffer the consequences.

God has given us free will to make our own choices.  Just as Eve and Adam had a choice to eat or not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:1-6).  And so it is today.  We can still choose between what is right and what is wrong.  We just have to get a handle on what is right.  We know that when we are obedient to God, good things come our way (Rom. 8:28).  We see that our enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).  We see that God loves us so much, He has given us His only begotten Son that we should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16)!  We make the ‘right’ choices, God is with us and if God is with us, who can stand against us (Rom. 8:31)?

I have an example from my own life to demonstrate this.  Norm and I were processing out of country (Vietnam) in December 1967.  We had to go to Vung Tau (on the coast), to process out of country, but had to come back to our home base in Saigon (more inland) to catch the flight home the next day.  Around five or six PM, we had just missed the last flight back to Saigon.  We checked around to see if anything else might be headed back to Saigon and found a helicopter headed for the 90th Replacement camp, just a couple miles outside Saigon.  They dropped us off at a helipad in the middle of nowhere.  The other guys, who were on the helicopter with us,  had a deuce and a half (truck) waiting for them, but we were headed the opposite direction of where we needed to go, literally.  There was only one road – left or right.  They went left.  As far as the eye could see to either side of the road was an open field which ended into dense tree lines, which were about 100 yards from us and again on either side.  We were told that the 90th was about five miles down the road (maybe a little farther, maybe a little closer) and after waiting a while, to see if anyone might ‘happen by’, we started walking.  After walking about fifteen minutes or so, a jeep comes roaring up behind us.  “What in the *@#$*! Are you guys doing out here!”  The captain yelled, yet he gave us a ride the rest of the way to the 90th.  And yes, we did make our flight out in the morning.  God’s grace and protection?  Let’s put things in perspective.  Consider that if we were walking just a few miles outside Kabul (Afghanistan) trying to get back to the city to catch the last flight out of Afghanistan.  A safe walk?  Especially for a couple of American GIs? 

In those days, I had been a church-goer in my youth, but had not been to church regularly for some time.  In those woods to either side of the road, VC (Viet Cong) snipers could have easily been hiding, waiting to ‘take out’ some unfortunate GIs like Norm and myself.  Obviously there weren’t any, or at least there was no attempt to kill or capture us.  God is good!  As I’m writing this, Father is saying that they WERE there.  He kept them from doing anything.

I can give numerous accounts of how Father has shown His love for me, before and since giving my life to Jesus, but I relate this incident to give you an idea that God’s angels DO watch over us.  He is longsuffering and Father does not want us to perish!  What does our passage say?  He puts up with a lot of our stupidity in order to draw us in.  Yet, if we insist, Father will apply Romans 1:28 (above) and let us go.  When a pig insists on being a pig, quit casting pearls before him (Matt. 7:6).

Does anyone remember Jonah?  God called Jonah to minister to a people which Jonah didn’t like, so Jonah took off in the other direction.  He ran from God!  As God persisted, Jonah finally realized that it was useless to fight against God and went on to Nineveh, although he did so begrudgingly.  Even after Father brought salvation to the city, Jonah still had an attitude.  Read all four chapters of the book of Jonah to see what happened.

We (man) often feel that God is not watching or perhaps He can’t see us in the dark.  The little boy has been told “No cookies until after dinner.”  Yet, in the middle of the afternoon, having checked around to make sure no one is watching, sneaks into the kitchen and grabs a cookie.  God is Spirit (John 4:24).  We said earlier, time is irrelevant with Him so He sees and knows all things (Ecc. 12:13-14).  Nothing is hidden from Him (Heb. 4:12-13).

God is love (1 John 4:8)) and He loves us so much (again John 3:16) He does put up with an awful lot from us.

Over the years, too often I have identified with Paul when He relates how he fights from doing things he shouldn’t be doing yet he has problems doing those things he should be doing.  He realizes that it is human nature to want to do sin. We are born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and in a constant struggle (Rom. 7:1-25). 

We don’t always make the right choices.  I haven’t always made right choices, yet Father has been longsuffering with me just as He is with all people.

I gave my life to Christ in 1972 when my wife went to be counselled for marriage.  I knew, in my heart, my life had changed that day yet I still made too many wrong choices, even though My bride and I were now back in church.  I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost in 1978!  My wife and I both received the ‘baptism’ that night.  My wife at a meeting we attended and me, several hours later in the wee hours of the morning in our living room.  Yes, I know that Cornelius and his family received the baptism at the same time they received Jesus (Acts 10:34-46).  I also know that the twelve men Paul met on the road to Ephesus had been baptized only in water but (until that day) not the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-7).  That morning in 1978, I took another step closer to my Lord, but I still had a long way to go.  I still wrestled with some major issues.  It seemed that I knew what to do – just doing it seemed almost impossible.  The “old man” kept winning the battles.

My wife and family moved several times between 1972 and 1994 when we finally settled in the town where I now reside.  Each move meant looking for a new church.  We were married in a Baptist Church and over the years, Father took us through Presbyterian, Catholic and I don’t know how many Pentecostal churches, big and small.

Now, in a new town in 1994, we were still looking and still not finding one to call home.  My wife went to be with the Lord in 2005.  By the way, ‘yes’, I was still wrestling with some of the same issues as before and still hadn’t found victory nor the right church.  Father had given me victory in many of my issues, but a few just seemed to be hanging on, not letting go.  I just didn’t seem to be able to dump them.

In 2009/10, Father introduced me to the “prophetic” and a church where Father said “This is where I want you”.  And here I still am.  Father has taught me so much in the past, recent years.  Perhaps more that all the other years combined!  I’ve learned so much about my relationship with Father – or perhaps I should say His relationship with me, it’s been incredible.  I’ve come to know Father in ways I had never even dreamed of.  I enjoy close times with Him and even though, I usually do a lot of the talking, I do stop and listen.  It is then He shares so much with me – one on one.  He shares with me in the early hours of the morning as I ‘think’ I’m trying to sleep.  He interrupts my prayers to share.  These are the times He is teaching me. PTL!  And still, there is one area of my life I just can’t seem to shake.  Then (even now as I write this) He reminds me of what Paul shared with the Corinthians about keeping my relationship with God and with man in proper perspective (the thorn in the side - 2 Corinth. 12:6-10).

Through all of this, Father keeps showing me how longsuffering He has been with me.  I can’t thank Him enough for putting up with me for so long.

Father has taught me about what is sin.  There was a time in my life that I believed that If I didn’t “do it”, I was OK.  Then I realized that Father judges our heart.  I knew I was in trouble for @90% of my battles are in my mind (my heart) and if I’m guilty of every thought … dum de dum dum …!  Then Father showed me the book of James.  Blessed is he who endures temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive a crown of life which God has promised.  Don’t let anyone say we are tempted by God for neither can God be tempted with evil nor does He tempt anyone.  But we are drawn away by the lust (in our own heart) and enticed.  When we “decide” to act on that lust we put it into action and that is what brings death (separation from God) (Janes 1:12-15).  Once we ‘decide’ to do whatever it is, we have sinned.  The action just compounds the issue. 

Over our lives, many of us put a lot of garbage into our minds and our enemy can use that to tempt us later.  We have to be diligent to ‘put the brakes on’ as soon as those thoughts enter our little ‘pea-pickin’ brains by rebuking the devil and refocusing our thoughts on Godly things.  Amen?  This is why Paul told the Philippians to think on these things: those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely of good report, if they have any virtue or are worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8).  We get our mind focused on the good and away from the bad! 

God IS longsuffering.  He is always willing to work with us as long as we are willing to yield over to Him. 

 He DOES NOT desire that any human perish.  His DESIRE is that we all repent those things which separate us from Him and receive Jesus into our heart.  As we allow the Holy Spirit to align us in Father’s will through Jesus Christ, Jesus is faithful to come back through the Holy Ghost to keep us faithful and obedient in God’s Word.


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