We recently attended the International Convention of Foursquare in Columbus, Ohio entitled Accelerate. It was emphasized that if we just look around us at what is happening around the globe we can see that we are picking up steam towards the glorious second coming of the Lord. With that being said, now is the time we must prioritize our time and talents for the Lord. Its so easy to fill our schedules with good things, but not all good things are God things.
The message today is twofold teaching.
Let me share some statistics with you that will open your eyes to the reality of what Im saying that the Lord is accelerating his timing towards his coming.
The worlds population didnt reach 1 billion until 1804.
In 1960, 156 years later that number increased times three, to 3 billion.
In 1999, 39 years later, that number doubled to 6 billion.
There will soon be more people alive on the Earth than the total number of all who have ever lived.
In 1999, one-third of everybody that has come to Christ since he died on the cross did so in the past 10 years.
Each week, an estimated 1 million people accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
There will soon be more believers alive than everyone in history who has ever been saved.
This is, without a doubt, the greatest hour in history and the Lord by His Holy Spirit is calling us, exhorting us, pleading with us, wooing us to get involved in and actively participate in the most monumental move of God the world has ever seen! Are you ready? Are you ready?
So while the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is gently prompting us to bring forth a unity of generations where grandfathers and grandchildren are standing hand-in-hand worshipping the risen savior, our adversary is trying to stop it using various tactics to get us to respond in and operate in our flesh. One of the most prominent and deadly of them is planting seeds of bitterness in our hearts.
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Two very important themes we can see here in all of these.
1 If you are bitter you probably do not see it or the Word wouldnt tell us to make sure nobody gets bitter.
2 We are all responsible to show those that are bitter the error of their ways, and how it can negatively affect them.
Also we must let others speak to us that we know and trust, and be teachable and submitted.
Now the primary tool used to cause us to become bitter is people, and is generally not always, but most of the time one of two types of people in our lives. Occasionally we can become bitter from how a business, an agency or the government treats us, but most of the time its through people we have some sort of relationship with.
Those two types are: One, somebody close to us, or two, somebody we trust that we think has let us down or lead us astray or gotten us mad at them because of their words, actions or attitudes. Notice how I say we think has let us down, etc. Many times if we would just ask them, Did you really mean that or say that? This is what I thought I heard. Is that right? So many times we get offended or angry, but dont ask to make sure we understood or heard right. Many times it can be cleared up if we just communicated better instead of getting bitter. Offenses left unresolved will turn into bitterness, and bitterness is like cancer; it will spread until it has killed whatever it gets in contact with.
Bitterness can affect your children, your grandchildren and even your great-grandchildren if left unchecked, and can ruin your ministry, your relationships and your future with the Lord, friends and family. Lets all consistently think the best of the motives and intentions of others, shall we?
But if it does become evident that we harbor bitterness towards somebody, we must admit it, repent of it and ask for forgiveness or, according to the Bible, we will miss out on the grace of God.
So the question must be asked how do you know if you are bitter?
If when you think of that incident or that person that hurt you, you still feel like you got punched in the gut, you still have that against them. You need to deal with it and sometimes you may need to repent more than once or twice to get rid of it. The violent, angry, immoral, nasty world we live in is a breeding ground for hurts, for pain, for suffering, for resentment and for rejection. And the devil will make every effort to get us to fall for those emotional traps. Lets love one another unconditionally and see the enemys plans, schemes and devices fall, fail and flop every time.
Stuart Hanold and his wife Liliana pastor the Cortez Family WorshipCenter Foursquare Church and Vida En Victoria Eglesia en Espanol, 500 N. Washington.