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Hope When You Are Distressed – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
November 6, 2022 3:00 pm

Hope When You Are Distressed – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz

When he judges, he judges with mercy and that mercy is evidenced with his patience. This is Living in the Light with Anne Gramlots and her introduction from today's message titled God Taking Charge. Anne continues in her series from the book of Revelation in chapter 6 when God's wrath is poured out on the world in response to man's evil actions. A difficult passage to hear but one to motivate us to bring others to Christ.

Here's Anne. This is a bear of a passage and it's not something I enjoy sharing it and I don't enjoy thinking about it but you know something I was sitting there thinking we need to be filled with a holy fear and we need to actually have a chill run down our spine to think of what's coming and I don't know what my aim is which is my aim is to get through this message actually. But I was thinking I pray that one aim or one take away would be to motivate us to share the gospel because when people step into eternity, if they're not right with God, if they haven't been to the cross and received Christ as Savior, they're going to come under God's judgment. It's not just at the return of Christ and so it just behooves you and me if we care about others to share the gospel with as many people as we can before time runs out. So we've talked about having hope as we look forward through prophecy and praise and patient endurance and prostration. Talked about having hope as we look inward, as we repent of our sin, we swallow that camera and claim the promises and live by the principles. Hope as we look upward and we see Jesus absolutely supreme as Lord and as Lamb and now we're going to look earthward.

And by that I mean just look around and we see what's taking place in this world and if you're like me I can read the paper, see the news on TV at night and be very angry at the injustice, the cruelty, the obscenity, the things people seem to get by with and so this message is something that I believe we need to be aware of and we need to know these passages and use it to motivate us to do something while it's still day. That we might save people from the judgment that is coming either when they step into eternity unsaved or if they're alive on earth and our judgment falls after the rapture. So let's just take a moment and pray. Father we just ask now please dear holy spirits that you would come down, that you would move in our midst, that you would give me recall and give me words and Lord stir our spirits and I pray with all the seals and trumpets and bowls and all the verses and all the passages of scripture and the flipping back and forth that somehow you'd bring order out of this chaos and that we would grasp the truth, the words that are trustworthy and truth that one day you're going to take charge of this planet and you're coming back to set wrong rights and to stamp out evil and to overturn hate and to establish your reign and rule on this planet that belongs to you and one day you're going to seize control and we need to share the gospel with as many people as we can before that moment arrives.

So Lord we pray your blessing now in Jesus name and for his glory, amen. There's a story that my brother Franklin told me years ago and I put it in my book vision of his glory and I was reminded of that as I was reading it this week so I just wanted to share it with you. It's when there was that massacre that took place in Rwanda, do you remember when the Hutus rose up again the Tutsis and there was just a bloodbath? And Samaritan's Purse was the first relief organization that got into Rwanda after that massacre took place and so Franklin was there with the crew that was going in at the very beginning and he was crossing the border from Uganda to Rwanda and he was at the gate and they had the little hut there where the French soldiers were checking people in and out and clearing him to go across the border and he said the soldiers were just slouching around and they had their machine guns over their shoulder and cigarettes dangling out of their mouths and he was waiting for them to process them so he could go in and there was a flatbed truck out in the courtyard of this hut that was the border security and in the back of the flatbed truck was a little Ugandan girl and she was rocking back and forth and she was sort of singing to herself. So he asked one of the soldiers who she was and they said, you know, she's just a little girl and all her family was slain and we don't know who she belongs to, we don't know where she's supposed to go and she just has nobody and she's just sitting there. And Franklin listened for a minute and he said, but she's singing something and the soldier didn't care and he said, what she's singing and the soldiers, I don't know, you know, she's singing in French, something like Jesus loves her and he said, if she's singing Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.

And the soldier said, that's it. And this little Rwandan girl who had nothing and all of her family taken and nobody, somebody had told her about Jesus and she was clinging with hope to the one thing she knew that Jesus loved her because the Bible said so. And so thinking about that little Rwandan girl and then thinking about the other atrocities, and I don't mean to start this out so ugly, but there's so many ugly things happening in the world in Afghanistan or Pakistan where they stone women to death for just driving a car, you know, or walking down the street and their burka flips up and show an ankle or something.

Then we think of people in this country involved in the sex trade and selling children and I just think, oh God, you know, I read about it secondhand, maybe hear a rumor about something, get it on the web and you see it when it happens behind the closed doors, all the murky back alleys, all the ugly things, obscenities and all the things, God, are you going to do something about it? And it's like Sodom and Gomorrah, when God went down there and he told Abraham, should I hide from him what I'm about to do? And he said, I'm going to go to Sodom and Gomorrah and see if the outcries as great as I think it is.

And who was crying out? Maybe the rocks and the trees, maybe it was angels, maybe it was a few righteous, maybe it was a lot of himself, but I know in this world there are people like me crying out, God, you need to do something. And we look earthward at the increasing evil and the wickedness and the blasphemy and the profanity. And we think, God, it's time to do something. And there's coming a day when he's going to do something about it. And he does individually now, but worldwide, one day, Jesus is going to take charge.

And we saw that, didn't we? Up in heaven, chapters four and five, when he seizes that scroll, the title lead to planet earth and he asserts his right to rule and reign on this earth. And now chapter six begins him taking charge. And so we, and somewhere in between there is the rapture of the church. I do not believe the church is on earth at this stage, but I could be wrong. I believe the rapture of the church begins a seven year period of tribulation, which is God's judgment on earth. The seven year period is divided into two, three and a half year periods. And there's a case to be made that possibly the rapture of the church takes place in the middle point of that seven year period. So maybe after the first three and a half years, I know we're not going to be in the last three and a half years because that's when God's wrath is poured out, unmixed with mercy on the earth and you and I are not appointed to wrath. So I don't believe, I know we're not going to be in that last three and a half years.

Maybe the first three and a half, I don't think we're going to be here in the first three and a half. I think we're going to be raptured before the tribulation. One reason for that, of course, is the antichrist is going to be revealed, but he's not revealed until after we're taken, but we're going to know who he is in that first three and a half year period when he rules the world.

I mean, there are lots of other reasons. So I believe we'll be raptured before then. And when the rapture of the church takes place, and by that I mean, when believers who are alive on earth and those who have died in Christ who've gone before, that trumpet blows, whatever that is, and God gives a signal and suddenly where all of a sudden Paul says in the twinkling of an eye, our bodies are changed and our bodies become like our lords and they're suited to live in eternity and we take off through the air.

And I'm assuming the world can't see that. All of a sudden we just disappear and we're joined with our loved ones who've gone before. So I'm going to see my mother and my grandmother and they're going to be in the air coming back to receive me with Jesus and I'm going to go to heaven and we're going to have this marriage feast and there's going to be a celebration. But that begins on earth, a seven year period of tribulation.

All right. When Jesus takes charge. And as he takes charge, he takes charge in their three principles that he takes charge. He takes charge with justice and with mercy and with power. And as we see him take charge with justice, he judges with patience and I'll give you the sub points with patience, progression, precision, provision, and we're going to go through it. But first of all, with patience, and I get that from the seven year period of tribulation because he could do it just like in Noah's day, you know, send a worldwide flood except he promised he wouldn't, but, but you know, just destroy the world all at once or he could just send a fire and we could burn to a crisp all at once, but instead he stretches it out over seven years because he's very patient.

And that first three and a half years he's judging with patience, just one thing after one thing after one. At any point the world could repent. People could turn to him and he would spare them the judgment. So when he judges, he judges with mercy and that mercy is evidenced with his patience. And we get this, let's say I won't give the verse right now. There's so many verses to give you, but if the world doesn't repent, he just proceeds with the judgment because he's not willing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance. And I want you to get that as we go through this because he's so patient and you feel his reluctance to pour out his judgment on planet earth. He judges with patience, he judges with progression and you see this there are seven seals and then there are seven trumpets and then there are seven bowls, one at a time. And so there's a progression to his judgment.

There's steps to it. And if you notice they get progressively worse. So if the world doesn't repent, then something worse happens. If they don't repent, something worse happens.

If they don't repent, something worse until in the end the bowls of wrath are just God's judgment just poured out and, and it's like hell on earth. So you see him judging with justice, with patience and progression. And let's just look at the seals because do you remember when he took that title deed to planet earth and remember when John said no one was found could who could open the scroll or unlock the seals, but Jesus came over and he took the scroll from the hand of the one who sat on the throne and he was asserting his right to rule the world and fulfill God's purpose for the human race. And now the lamb of God begins to break the seals.

All right. So he's opening the scroll. And so in chapter six, verse one, I watched as the lamb opened the first of the seven seals. And then I heard the voice of one of the four living creatures, like thunder saying, come and I looked and this is the first seal there before me was a white horse.

You've heard of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This is the first one. It's Rodder held a bow and he was given a crown and he wrote out as a conqueror bent on conquest and nobody knows exactly who that is.

So I'll give you two guesses. This comes back in chapter 19, riding on a white horse. So some people suggest possibly this is the lamb himself signifying that he's coming back to take charge and he's the prince of peace, but he has a bow in his hand because he's going to take charge with justice and he's going to judge the world.

Maybe. Another one says that it's the world itself that all of a sudden has peace, prosperity, the stock market going up, things look good. People making treaties with each other, deals are being made with Iran and Iraq and all the rest of it, but there's a bow underneath.

There's a hidden agenda of destruction and evil that's underlying that facade of peace. So either one possibly, but the first seal is the white horse. The second seal in verse four, then another horse came out a fiery red one. It's Rodder was given power to take peace from the earth, to make men slay each other.

To him was given a large sword. Those are wars and rumors of wars, maybe world wars at that point where nations begin to go to war against nation. The third seal is in verse five and there before me was a black horse.

It's Rodder was holding a pair of scales in his hand and I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures saying a quarter of wheat for a day's wages, three quarts of barley for a day's wages. Don't damage the oil and wine. In other words, there's an economic collapse. There is worldwide famine that follows war, right? But it's interesting that it doesn't hurt the luxury. So the poor are devastated and the rich don't seem to be touched by this because the oil and the wine aren't damaged, but things like water and bread you can't find.

And it costs you a day's wages just for a glass of water. So economic collapse and I hear those hoofbeats, don't you? I mean, and verse seven, when the lamb opened the fourth seal, the fourth living creatures said, come and I looked and there was a pale horse. Its rider was named Death in Hades, was following close behind them. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague by the wild beasts. And just notice the fourth because God is very reluctant, you know, he could slay everybody, but just a, it's a fourth.

So he's restrained as he's judging the world at this point. And then the world because of all of these things happening and these four horsemen and the disasters that are taking place, they look for somebody to blame and they spot the Christians. And so in verse seven, the fist seal, I saw unto the altar, the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained and there's persecution that's poured out on Christians. And you think, well, where are the Christians if we've been raptured? And interesting thing is that when we're raptured and suddenly everybody who's left behind is unsaved. But if you have family members unsaved and you've shared the gospel and all of a sudden you disappear and everybody disappears who they know is a Christian and there are some of them that are going to get it. And at that point, I believe there's a worldwide revival that breaks out and they, many people come to faith in Jesus.

As soon as they do, they're put to death and they're blamed for all of these things that are happening. Verse 12, he opened the sixth seal and there was a, maybe this is God's response to the persecution. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair. The whole moon turned blood red. The stars in the sky fell to earth as late figs dropped from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.

The sky receded like a scroll, maybe that's ozone layer just rolling back and every mountain island was removed from its place and if ozone layer is rolled back then planet earth is exposed to all the elements of space, the radiation and the ultraviolet rays and the meters that fly around and so it's getting bad. And God is just judging the world in a progressive cycle of disasters and let me just give an application if I can because the disasters are happening one after another after another trying to get the world's attention and the purpose of the tribulation by the way is to purge the world of rebellion against God. And so he's allowing these, sending these disasters one at a time trying to get the world to repent and cleanse the world of rebellion but we'll see how the world reacts. But I think in my own life if there are cycles of disasters, do you ever go through that?

You're always having financial trouble. Could God be trying to get your attention that you're not handling your finances right and being more generous with the funds that God has given you with other people and it's amazing how God blesses you when you do that. Maybe it's that you always have trouble with your neighbors, doesn't matter where you live you're always having trouble with your neighbors and could it be God's trying to get your attention you're not handling your relationships right. Or maybe it's your church, no matter what church you go in you're always having a problem.

Maybe it's because we have a critical spirit you know. So that's just one application, cycles of disasters, God's trying to get our attention, he was trying to get the world's attention and in the end the seventh seal is so interesting and this is something I don't, anyway I just felt like the Lord showed me, he judges not only with patience and progression but with a pause and he stops everything at this point. And so in chapter seven verse one, after this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or the sea or any tree.

So there are no waves on the shore, there are no leaves scurrying across a path, there's no breeze that's blowing, everything is absolutely still and then it's silent. Chapter eight verse one, when he opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour and there's just this tremendous pause in the judgment. And I wonder if God is giving opportunity to the world to think about what's been happening, to just reconsider their rebellion and all of these disasters, I mean one after another the wars and the plagues and the famines and the death and the destruction and the earthquake and the ozone layer rolling back and you know, and so he's just putting everything on pause to give them time to think.

Sometimes you think they would say, you know, I'm tired of the pleasure of sin for a season, I'm tired of being rebellious, you know, God save us from this, please, we're sorry, we turn to you, we embrace you, we want to be right with you and instead they don't respond. And so another angel who had a golden sense who came stood at the altar, he was given much incense and then down in verse five, then the angel took the censor, he filled it with fire from the altar, hurled it on the earth and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, an earthquake, no rain, but just a gigantic storm that broke that silence and that stillness. During that pause, do you remember when God sent Jonah to Nineveh and Nineveh was Assyria and they were so wicked and in time he would use them to judge the northern kingdom of Israel in a very dreadful way.

And Jonah got sidetracked and didn't go because he didn't want to save Nineveh because he knew in the future what Nineveh was going to do to his nation but God had a way of getting him to Nineveh and Jonah preached repentance and from the king on down Nineveh repented and God stayed his judgment for 120 years. And I was thinking during this pause, the silence and the stillness had they repented, they know judgment is coming, God's word is trustworthy and true but he could delay his judgment, he could postpone it if the world would repent. But they just used the pause to reorganize their rebellion and to harden their hearts and so that angel threw down the fiery censor and there was this huge storm and earthquake and so the seven seals give way to seven trumpets and the trumpets, the seven seals are disasters but the seven trumpets are supernatural disasters. The first four are environmental, the last three deal with man but the interesting thing about them, they reveal that God judges not only with patience, progression and a pause but with precision. These trumpets are like smart bombs, they're like drones that just, you know, you have that looks like a video game almost and they pinpoint who they're going to destroy.

They're very precise, very controlled judgments of God that come from the throne. So in verse chapter eight verse seven, their first angel sounded the trumpet and there came hail and fire mixed with blood and it was hurled down upon the earth and see this a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees and all the green grass. So the earth was defoliated by one third, remember, maybe you don't, Vietnam War, I'm old enough to remember the Vietnam War and Agent Orange when they sprayed those jungles with Agent Orange and they just defoliated everything and one third of the earth is defoliated but just one third, he could have done everything. Second angel sounded his trumpet something like a huge mountain, all ablaze was thrown into the sea and a third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures of the sea died and a third of the ships were destroyed so it destroyed the salt water, the sea lanes, the fish by one third. The third angel sounded his trumpet, a great star blazing like a torch fell from the sky and a third of the fresh water was destroyed. And the fourth angel in verse 12 sounded his trumpet and a third of the sun was struck and a third of the moon and a third of the stars so a third of the lights in the sky went out and you see the precision one third, one third, one third, one third and you see God's reluctance to bring judgment on this planet and he's doing it so precisely and in measure and holding back, not wanting to judge the world but wanting to warn them and purge them of the rebellion and bring them to repentance. But they don't repent and so the fifth trumpet blows and this one is getting very eerie but in chapter 9 verse 1 the fifth angel sounded his trumpet and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth and this is Satan himself. The star was given the key to the shaft of the abyss and when he opened the abyss smoke rose from it like smoke from a gigantic furnace and the sun and sky were darkened by the smoke and out of the smoke locusts came, those are demons and they were given power over the earth and they brought in depression and despondency and demons bringing in despair, distress, so people became miserable. The sixth trumpet in verse 13, I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God and it said that the sixth angel released the four angels bound at the great river Euphrates, these are not angelic angels, these are demonic angels, they've been kept ready for this very hour, day and month and year and they were released to kill a third of mankind, heard the number of the mounted troops, two hundred million, I heard their number and so the demons are released, a third of the population of planet earth is destroyed, wouldn't you think they would say I've had enough, wouldn't you think they would say God, please save us. Now here's Anne with this final word, wouldn't you think, this is a message I didn't look forward to giving but the truth is the world's ears will be deaf and the world's eyes will be blind and the world's heart will be hard, what evil actions against you or against someone you love or even now tormenting your spirit, what's causing you to cry bitterly between clenched teeth, it just isn't fair, it's not right, how can they get by with that, would you place the evil actions and evil people before the throne of God, before the one who is keeping the record books, ask him to take responsibility for setting things right and remember God doesn't settle all of his accounts right this moment but he does settle all of his accounts, then release your attitude of hate and bitterness, replacing it with an attitude of love and forgiveness, why, because to this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps, when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate, when he suffered he made no threats, instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly, place your hope in the one who alone is the judge of all things.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 17:14:29 / 2022-11-06 17:20:27 / 6

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