Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled
Matthew 24:3-7: Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?''
4. And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
5. "For many will come in My name, saying, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
6. "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7. "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
In recent years, events around the world have raised many questions in the hearts and minds of both believers and non-believers alike. We can look at some of the most horrible and devastating events to have occurred in decades. The tsunami waves that hit in the Indian Ocean were the result of one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans.
But what does that mean to both believers and non-believers? Is this an "act of God" as insurance companies put it, or is it God punishing the world for some reason? As a believer, who understands the love and mercy of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, my answer to these questions is no, definitely not. It was not an act of God and it was not a punishment of God. What is it then, you may ask?
To understand what has happened we need to look at the beginning of creation.
Genesis 1:1,4,10,12,18,21,25,31: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. .. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good…And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good… So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good… And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good…Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
In the beginning God created the Earth and everything in it, God saw it and God decided it was Good. God was pleased with all he had created for it was perfect, nothing was wrong with it. God placed Adam and Eve in a perfect environment, it was exactly what they needed to live and fellowship with God. What happened then? Satan came, deceived Eve and tempted Adam and sin entered the world.
Genesis 1:26-28: Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.''
27. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.''
Adam was created to have dominion over all the Earth, but he sinned and gave the authority to the enemy, Satan and sin, and the consequences of sin entered the world.
Luke 4:5-8. Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. "Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’’ And Jesus answered and said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.
This event took place during the temptation of Christ. Satan, the devil, plainly tells Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world, belong to him, that includes everything about them. Satan tells Jesus that the world has been delivered to him. When, you ask? When Adam gave it to him. Satan is the God of this world as explained in the following verse.
Living Bible 2 Corinthians 4:4: Satan, who is the god of this evil world, has made him blind, unable to see the glorious light of the Gospel that is shining upon him, or to understand the amazing message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is God.
As Satan rules the world, His sinful ways ravage it, and it like us, patiently waits to be restored to it’s original form of perfection.
Living Bible: Romans 8:19-22 For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay –the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command—will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event.
Yes, not only does man suffer the ravages of sin, but the Earth does also. Earthquakes, floods, famine, drought, and every other act of nature tell us two things. That satan, the god of this world, destroys everything he touches, including nature, and innocent people as a result, but also it gives us a great hope, because to the believer it heralds in the second coming of Christ. Yes, I do believe that all the things that have happened in the past fifty years or so, are leading to the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 21:33,42-44: "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the very doors…"Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
43. "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44. "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.
So, were these tsunami waves, God’s Judgment or another sign of the times? I believe it is a sign of the times. Therefore we need to be ready for Christ’s return. I am not going to even try to tell you it will be in our lifetime. As a born-again, spirit filled believer, I plan on living my life for the glory of God and nothing else. I plan on trying to live my life as God intended, working to please Him in everything I do, and bring glory to God, Jesus Christ and the kingdom of Heaven. If I do this, then it doesn’t really matter when Jesus returns, I will be ready. If Jesus comes today, tomorrow or I die before He returns, I will not be dismayed. I know that what Jesus tells me in His Word is true and if I meet Him on His return or when I die, I know that I will be with Him forever. Amen!!
1 Thessalonians 1:10:. and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: 13. But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Yes, God has given each of us a promise of eternal life and we are to live our life in anticipation of that promise. What does that mean? Living a righteous God centered life. Trusting Him with all your heart and understanding, and not in yourself. Giving of yourself completely, accepting the finished work of Christ on the cross and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, if you have not done so. Do not let yourself be troubled Jesus promised He would return for us and He will!
John 14: 1-4: 1. "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2. "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4. "And where I go you know, and the way you know.''
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ? If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord! I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.